A delicate piece of hardware

Much like with other modern technology, we’ve managed to squeeze more into smaller space. The laptops or pads we have nowadays are engineered to a point that barely anyone can open up their cases and fix them without further studying on the subject. Game consoles aren’t any different, though the PlayStation 4 is almost as big as the original Xbox. It wasn’t until we began to have consoles that began to show easily damaged sections in the mainline consoles. While the PlayStation could take some hefty damage (personal experience tells me it can survive a trip in a lake), the PlayStation 2 could be damaged by having enough weight at the wrong spot. This was the time when PCBs started to become thinner and more packed up with components downsizing with almost each year. You could lob a NES or SNES outside a window have it working with a cracked case, and the same really for the PlayStation as well. Personal experience, don’t ask. PlayStation 2 however was the first truly delicate piece of hardware that in the end begun to have issues with reading the discs. Sometimes from the very beginning.

Goddamn, this video came out sometime early 2000’s. Takes me back

Nintendo’s consoles usually have been durable, especially their handheld consoles. There has even been discussion how Iwata drove the DS’ tech team mad by demanding the console to be able to withstand multiple drops from a standard height.

However, the more we pack delicate technology in a smaller place, the more easy it is to break it. While most people fellate companies over the hardware, it’s uncommon to see anyone appreciate the design and intentions of the design. The PSP was applauded for its higher raw power over the DS, and while it was snazzy to have in your hands, it was a delicate piece of hardware that could break down very easily. The console wasn’t meant for everybody, and much like how SEGA used to sell Mega Drive for more mature gamers, SONY’s western branches clearly had the more adult audience in mind. The PSP really couldn’t take much damage, I’ve had to fix a few. The same applies to the Vita to some extent, thought the Vita seems to be able to take a beating or two more than its elder sibling.

The Switch has been out only for a while, but it’s already showcasing very erratic behaviour. Some have it going completely mad in sound department, some consoles refuse to launch games, connection issues with the controllers, and the screen’s been scratched by the dock itself. I saw the dock scratching issue the very moment the whole thing was revealed (it had no guiding rails to keep the screen clear), but having a plastic screen is a necessity. Why wouldn’t you want to have a glass screen? They’re so much better! The reason for this is safety and durability design. See, when you have a plastic screen, the console can dissipate a fall impact by wobbling around rather move the energy directly into rigid parts, destroying them. The very reason your phone’s screen shatters so easily is because it can’t bent, and the energy from the is released by shattering. It’s a design decision between durability and looks.

To sidetrack a bit, this really applies to Muv-Luv‘s BETA as well. The Destoyer-Class has a shield hardness of Mohs-15, but because that’s hardness topping that of a diamond, their shields should shatter when shot at. They don’t flex when hit due to their hardness. Mohs scale is for mineral hardness after all and should never be applied outside jewellery.

Newly borked devices is nothing new, either. The 360 had firmware issues since day one, and the infamous Red Ring of Death haunted machines every which way. Hell, the 360 may be a good example overall how to fuck your console from time to time, as some of my friends have told me their 360 crapped out because of an update. For better or worse, my 360 hasn’t crapped out yet.

No modern console is truly finished at launch. Firmware and software issues are relevant and will be patched out at a later date. This is largely due to modern technology. A Mega Drive never needed firmware patches, because it was less a computer than the modern machines. Whatever problems with the firmware Switch has now will be patched at a later date. However, the hardware and design problems are harder to fix, and if Nintendo is anything to go by, they may revise some of the designs in later production versions.

Though there really isn’t any good excuses to use paint coating that peels off with stickers. That’s just terrible. Who puts stickers on their consoles any more? You’d be surprised.

The first wave of adopters will always have to go through the same pains with modern technology. New smart phones and tablets suffer from firmware issues to the point of most common consumers willingly buying last year’s model in order to get a properly functioning device. The price has already dropped at that point too. Apple has been infamous with some of their smart devices’ firmware problems, and sometimes they were removing basic utilities from the hardware alone. Nobody really expected iPhone 7 not to have a headphone jack.

The question some have asked whether or not it’s worth buying a game console, or any modern smart device or computer component for the matter, if they require multiple updates months later down the line? We can’t see into the future, and it’s hard to say what device will go through a harsh update cycle. Essentially, you’ll need to look into history of a company and make a decision based on that. Just trusting that a company will update broken parts is strongly not recommended.

I guess releasing things partially unfinished and patching them up is an industry standard practice. Games get patched to hell and back, and while this isn’t much new for PC side of business, it’s one of those things that show how little of classic console business is in modern consoles. Not all games get patched though, even when they have console destroying bugs in them. NIS America’s track record with localised games that supposedly lock permanently and prevent you from finishing the game, break your console or generally have terrible translation would a perfect chance to use these patches to fix these issues. However, unlike with consoles and other devices, game developers can ignore these problems as the purchase has already been made and they probably are banking on hardcore fans.

Not that any product is final when it’s released. All products are good enough when released, but that good enough has seen a serious inflation with time.

Review of the month; sort of comparative overview between 3DS and N3DS

This being a design blog that has gone to places and back, let’s go with something pure design and review the design of 3DS LL and N3DS Flanders XL. We will ignore their library and most of the tech. The emphasize is on how the systems are shaped. You’ll most likely be seeing a lot of mundane descriptions if you own the system and have played it to death, but do keep in mind that this is made for everybody and thus I see there is a need to go to some stupid level of detail in even in the mundane.

Nintendo 3DS LL

Closed appearance

Side by side, the other has more rounder approach while the other is more direct

The 3DS LL base design doesn’t step too much away from the pre-established Nintendo DSi XL design with its relatively unassuming case. It has nicely low front profile device overall, but it’s width makes it very bulky as a handheld device. The device fits larger pockets just fine, yet it’s not something you can easily pocket. Cargo pants should have pockets large enough to carry a naked 3DS LL, but otherwise the device needs some sort of case or stashed inside a bag for transportation. The colour can make the system look classy, or like a toy. It’s up to each person to pick up their favourite colour.

Still, we can already see some peculiarities with the device. One is that the coloured plates tend to have a less than millimetre gap between them and the main device parts, and despite the halves have been locked in tight, these gaps tend to collect dirt. In addition, the bottom plate is relatively loose even if locked in place only in few parts, which in worst situation can be stuck to a sharp corner and break the plate. This isn’t something that can occur easily and most likely has to be by intention, but nevertheless something that should have been considered. The looseness of the bottom plate does not inhibit gameplay and is mostly unnoticeable. The bottom plate has the usual information about Li-ion batteries and such, but also two rubber tabs near the back of the console to prevent it from slipping on a given surface. However, the rubber used is more or less useless on most surfaces. The small legs at each corner allow the console to stand apart from a surface, but their size is so small that these legs will simply scratch out relatively fast and leave black plastic tabs.

Underneath the plate is the battery, and if there is a need to replace this battery, the plate can be removed with a small sized phillips head screwdriver.

If you were wondering I was talking about 3DS LL, it's because I have access to an imported system. The Western equivalent is XL
If you were wondering I was talking about 3DS LL, it’s because I have access to an imported system. The Western equivalent is XL. Yes, I know the photo is shaky and I should replace it

The stylus is placed at the right side of the system. The indentation made before the stylus is a detail that is easy to miss during design phase and makes removal of the stylus. The stylus however feels somewhat loose in its spot, but due to its light weight it will keep itself in place just fine. Next to the stylus is a standard SD card slot behind a flap, nothing special and due to the flap it doesn’t stand out.

While most of the action buttons are hid when the 3DS LL is closed, both shoulder buttons are at a dangerous corners. There isn’t any better place for them to be placed in, and their construction is relatively sturdy. They are low in profile and the distance they go is millimetre or so. The whole button doesn’t move, as it has its hinge towards the centre of the console’s back. The buttons themselves have the traditional L and R carved into them alongside pictures of cameras. The click the buttons do are clear and give nice tactile feeling to them. However, them being at the corners and in this design, they are susceptible to damage if the system would be dropped.

The back holds locking places for other devices alongside IR sensor, game card slot and power adapter socket. The lock holes tend to wear down with use, but them residing at the back means they won’t be too visible to the user. The card slot is like any other game cartridge slot in action and is largely unchanged from previous incarnation. The card locking mechanism however will break down in time with use, a design point that wasn’t as relative with GameBoy line of products. The power socket however houses two plates that are completely open to the elements, and in environment where oxygenation is common these plates will lose their lustre very soon, and to some extent their function as well. These plates are used in the docking station to charge the battery. Sadly, just like with most products, the power socket is not standard build even if it shared among other Nintendo products. However, the socket is well enough designed so that the user can put the console on charger without checking which way it needs to be, a common thing with USB drives.

Volume controller is found at the left side of the system on the lower section. The volume control is a very loose slider, which during intense gameplay has a tendency to rock back and forth. To mirror the volume controller, the right side has Wireless switch. Because it is a switch, the user won’t accidentally turn their 3DS LL’s wireless functions on or off during gameplay. The upper half of this side has the 3D slider, but it’s main function comes into play when the system is open.

The front of the system houses places to put your strap in either side. Next to leftmost spot resides the phones jack, which may be too close to the edge to some users. Near the right corner are two LEDs to signify power and charging functions.

The top of the system is relatively empty compared to the other five sides. The right upper corner has an indication light for multiple functions, ranging from message arrival to overall battery state. The 3D camera near the front of them system has two cameras that look rather vulnerable, especially to scratches.

Open appearance

Notice the white spots on the lid? Those are soft tabs to keep the upper screen from scratching against the lower half. My model is early enough to do that, which is also why I use screenguards
Notice the white spots on the lid? Those are soft tabs to keep the upper screen from scratching against the lower half. My model is early enough to do that, which is also why I use screenguards

The system lid has four spots where it can reside; closed, first step, second step and third step. The system is more or less designed to be played at its second step, as otherwise the user’s arms and hands will be placed in an uncomfortable, far from an ergonomic position. This position is similar to older GameBoy variations, where the screen would be placed above the main action buttons.

At the third step, the lid turns over 180-degrees and can be easily snapped off from this position. The hinge overall is sturdy, but constant opening and closing will cause damage overtime where the lid will become highly loose, and in worst case scenario, break down. This has been rather common with the clamshell design and thus the materials need to be good enough to stand wear and tear for long periods.

The upper lid, when opened, houses the main screen. This screen is larger than the bottom one with a basic camera sitting atop of it and speakers on both sides. Near the upper corners of the screen there are two tabs that keep the upper screen from scratching itself against the lower half of the system, but early models had too small tabs for this, and this the upper screens got scratched. This model fault was later fixed by adding slightly larger tabs, but still stands as a model design error.

The aforementioned 3D Slider is just below the right speaker and designed so that it is used in an angle rather than directly from front or from the side. It’s little lock at OFF position is surprisingly sturdy and offers resistance, but when put on the slider moves freely. It should be noted that the 3D slider offers more resistance than the Volume slider, showing that there wasn’t much thought put into the Volume slider. The graphics used to signify the 3D’s strength is what you see in volume controls, and it can be debated whether or not this is good choice or not, but it does its job.

The lower half has all the main buttons. All buttons generally do not rise much from the console surface and they are on the same level as the raised middle surface the bottoms screen resides in. This frame also meets with the rubber tabs on the lid.

As per traditional Nintendo fashion, the action buttons are in a diamond formation in their familiar arrangement. When grasping the system, the action buttons fall rather naturally under your thumb and none of them are hard to reach. Their size and distance can be seen too small by the people with larger hands, and their clicking isn’t all that satisfying, but give tactile feeling enough to be called good. Their round and low profile offer a rather pleasant experience, albeit sometimes it feels that the button presses misses their timings.

On the left side we have the eponymous Slide-pad and the D-pad. The design of the 3DS LL emphasizes on the Slide-Pad and has placed it in the main spot your thumb falls into. The Slide-pad fits most thumbs just fine with its concave design and offers strange resistance between spongy and springy. While the pad is accurate in itself, repositioning one’s thumb during gameplay seems to be a common thing. It doesn’t help that the material used in the Slide-pad will become glossy and slippery with time.

The D-pad uses the slightly revised Nintendo standard we saw in e.g. the Wii Remote in that it is slightly concave. While the D-pad overall looks nice, it is not Nintendo’s best. The design underneath means it’s spongy and clicky at the same time, which is worsened by the fact the player needs to reposition their hand in order to access it.

Beneath the lower screen are the Select, Home and Start buttons in that order from the left. These buttons are the second spongiest in the system, but their integration to the overall shape where they sit in is more or less perfect. Perhaps the buttons could have used colour in the text to give them more appearance. Microphone is just to the right to the Start, as is the Power button. The power button is an unfortunate design, as it is surprisingly hard to properly press due to its spongy nature. There has been some reports that people have mistakenly pressed it instead of Start due to previous handheld designs.

System in hand

As described in the lid opening, the system is meant to be played rather open for maximum comfort, where most of the weight come straight along the arms rather to the hands themselves. However, as the system loses about 1/3 from its closed thickness, the lower half becomes too thing for its size and weight. The ergonomics also get a hit with the square design of the system that does not conform along the user’s palm. Even if the bottom has rounded edges, they do not help the bad grip the system requires to be used. It is recommended to get a separate third party grip or Slide-pad pro add-on to increase both ease of gameplay and ease of accuracy in said gameplay.

In addition to this, when you put pressure on the console by twisting it in your hands, it gives in and contorts slightly. This kind of construction allows the system frame to absorb more damage from a drop rather than outright shattering upon hitting the floor. However, this does make the system slightly less tight and can give it a somewhat toyetic feeling.

New Nintendo 3DS XL A.K.A Fat Flanders

In overall terms, the N3DS has similar weight, size and overall design to its older brethren and thus will be directly compared to it. A lot of points that apply to the standard 3DS LL apply to the N3DS XL. Changes to the design language include slightly sharper angle the corners have been rounded and overall righter design as opposed to the standard 3DS LL’s more wider appearance.

Closed appearance

Changes to the system from bottoms up include change in the bottom plate. The system now uses Mini-SD cards and it is necessary to remove the bottom plate to access it. Hiding important access slots behind panels has always been bad design and it applies here as well. Thankfully, this is not as bad with N-gage, where the game card slot was hidden behind the battery. The plate now has more sealed gap, but the plate itself is slightly smaller than the bottom of the system itself, creating a sharp corner where the hands then rest. This corner will also collect dirt and dead skin.

The problem with shiny metallic finish is that dust and scratches show themselves like nightlights
The problem with shiny metallic finish is that dust and scratches show themselves like nightlights

The sides of the system has seen drastic changes. At the back we have two more shoulder buttons in form of ZL and ZR. They protrude slightly more than the L and R shoulder buttons, but otherwise offer similar clickyness. Their position however is poor, as accessing them require slight change in hand position or holding the system deeper down in the user’s palms.

Left and right have seen changes in that the Volume slider has been moved to the upper half and now boasts the same kind of slider as the 3D slider has. This prevents the user from changing the volume accidentally, plus now the slider actually feels good to use. The Wireless switch has been completely removed and the Wireless functions must be accessed via the system’s OS.

The front now boasts, from left to right, the game card slot, phone jack in the middle, stylus about halfway from the middle to the corner and the power button. The position of the game card slot is more or less up to taste, but the sudden change in the position is hard to figure out. One possible explanation is that it is now easier to remove and put the game card in without closing the lid. However, there could be numerous of explanations. Moving the headphone jack to the middle prevents from the user from hitting the plug itself. However, that now applies to the power button. It has been reported that some people tend to support the console with their pinkie fingers from the front, and the new Power button placement happens to be right in that support spot.

The stylus is largely unchanged in weight and function. However, one of its ends have been modified to curve alongside the system’s front and work as a key to pop the bottom plate off. If you look at the left and right sides of the system, you will see indentations that stylus is supposed to jam between and lever the bottom plate off.

The top of the system is largely unchanged.

Open appearance

Above the upper screen we find now revised rubber tabs and an additional eye-tracking camera. This eye-tracking camera allows the system to adjust the 3D according to where the user’s eyes are, but otherwise the 3D has exactly same functions as previously. The speaker holes have now been made larger, but now there are less of them. The five holes that now allow the sound to pass look cheaper in comparison. 3D slider is unchanged.

Notice the eye-tracking camera functioning next to the inner camera
Notice the eye-tracking camera functioning next to the inner camera

The buttons are mostly unchanged in function. There is now visual flavour to the action buttons in that they are coloured in according to the Super Nintendo colours. An additional control stick, the C-stick, as been added to the right side as well. This C-stick is not a traditional game controller stick, but rather similar to the red mouse sticks found in various laptops. It’s not supposed to move as much as the user is supposed to rock it back and forth. The material it’s made of doesn’t allow enough friction for a proper use. Even with washed and clean hands, a session of gaming will produce enough sweat and grease from the skin surface to make the C-stick slippery and thus infuriating to work on. In order to accommodate the C-Stick, the hinge now has a curved indentation to give more room to larger thumbs. The position of the C-stick is more or less fitting, requiring minimal change in hand position to access, but the design is lacking. Seeing how the designers essentially combined the Slide-pad Pro to the pre-existing design, this is more or less accommodated.

Start and Select has been moved to the previous spots under the action buttons from the bottom screen frame. These two small buttons do their thing well enough and boast large area enough not to puncture your finger. Home button has changed into lonely button under the bottoms screen, which sticks out from the otherwise sleek design. If it had retained its square design from the previous incarnation, it would have melded well into the overall looks of the console.

System in hand

Due to the mostly recycled design, the N3DS XL feels similar to the standard 3DS LL. However, due to the revised corners it does feel slightly more comfortable in hands, but still suffers from being flat, square and unergonomic. It is recommended to get a third party grip for more comfortable gameplay.


Ultimately, the 3DS LL/XL range suffers from taking too much cues from the DS and Game Boy Advance SP lines. They are mostly designed how to make the system fold in the best and have a flat appearance over user comfort. There is a proper way how to hold the systems in your hands, and yet even that changes with the users’ hand anatomy and size. The basics are the same across the board, but the handheld consoles’ designs don’t meet with those basics. One could argue that the 3DS’ design follows what has been popular in portable device designs for some time now.

Nintendo’s most ergonomic handheld console was the original GameBoy Advance. It would be good if Nintendo would look back at it and take some cues how to make a console that fits your hands and design it from that perspective, rather than from what’s popular. Of course, the danger in this is that the product may end up looking too much like a toy, but with proper visual flavours they should be able to achieve similar sturdy console look as with the aforementioned GBA. However, if you prefer having the more cubic design in your hands, you’ll most likely come to a different conclusion.

As such, if you’re intending to pick up one or the other, you might as well pick up the Flanders model. They’re both the same on the outside, but the inside is a bit different in favour of Flanders.

Funny thing, the PSP and Vita follow GBA’s ergonomic design more than Nintendo themselves.

Don’t like character designs? Vote with your wallet

Whether it be literature or electronic games, they are fiction. Realism is a genre for sure, and yet even in that it is make belief unless it is a documentary piece or similar. As such, any character we may meet within any entertainment media has very little to do with real life. Television, movies, radio and other industries with live people doing performances are of course another thing, but even then the characters these people act are simple fiction. Documentaries and such of course are exceptions.

Let’s cut the chase. Theme for some of the posts in near future is Video game characters are not real people.

When fictional characters are designed, majority of the time they have encompass some level of ideal physique in them. In comics most of our superhero characters are nearly perfect in physique and have almost flawless appearance. Those with rugged appearance on the other hand then to have skills and abilities far exceeding normal people. The same applies to game characters as well, where we have Shepard, Lara Croft and various others sharing the same idea myths of old had.

Some would argue that these ideal appearances give the wrong image of reality. That would apply, if the products would be about reality. If one would come up to me and tell that Duke Nukem is how an ideal man should be, I would laugh at his face. While they are indeed ideal archetypes, nothing actually says that this is how we should be. More often than not, it is almost impossible to be something that is unreal in physical terms when it comes to humans. Cosplay as much as you want, but you will never be a cute little girl wearing skimpy black outfit with gold rims.

Appearances have always been a thorn in certain groups’ eyes. While we are bombarded with people calling women being sexualised in comics because of their perfect physique, often the physique of men is completely pushed aside. Next to this, these characters are not women or men, they are merely presentations of ideas of characters. With fiction you have no reason to stick with reality unless that is your aim and goal. While Grant Morrison is a dividing personality, his quote on how children have the ability to see fiction as it really is hits the spot with this one; adults ask stupid questions. The children I have worked with don’t question how or why something is in cartoons or games they play because they know it’s just la-la land. However, they have always been extremely interested in how the real world functions, the hows and whys of sciences. These discussions are something I always look forwards when working with kids, because this shows how they make that clear cut separation between reality and fiction. Hell, once I drew a princess character as a birthday gift to a girl (she asked for one) and when she presented it to her mother, she commented how the character’s shapes were a bit too curved. The girl commented to this that it was just fairytale and in fairytales that’s OK.

It would be nice if we all could make that distinction as well.

Nevertheless, it must also be argued that certain degree character designs need to respect the overall accepted norms a society has. This of course translates regionally very differently as we have seen throughout the years. In addition to that, character designs more often than not represent the idea of a character or certain groups’ idea of a character, not the rest of the population. Archetypes are a thing of their own and most of the time characters are mostly transformations of these archetypes into the setting. Whether or not they are successful is dependant largely on how well they are realized by the producers and accepted by the consumers.

With the 3DS Langrisser we see certain archetypes represented for better or worse in a strong sub-cultural flavour. Langrisser has always been a series with a strong tone for fanservice, that can’t be denied. I’m not sure whether or not it is my own bias taking lead here, but I can’t shake the view that Urushihara’s character designs were less fanservice and more sexier. The two are of course dependant completely on opinion, so we’ll give a look at the updated 3DS Langrisser site.

One of the most revamped sections of the site is Characters, and now we actually have information and official English names for the characters. This is good, because now I can correct what I have been calling them otherwise, Ares being one of them. The two added characters are, without circling around it too much, two female characters that more or less look underdeveloped and underage. A loli archetype, to be straight about the issue.

One on hand the dress has a nice design, but on other hand we can argue whether or not the dress is fitting for this character
One on hand the dress has a nice design, but on other hand we can argue whether or not the dress is fitting for this character

First of the two new ones is Jessica, a character that has appeared in every mainline Langrisser game as the Priestess of Light. As an avatar of the Goddess Lushiris, Jessica has the power to reincarnate herself and thus her soul is old as hell. Her appearance across the games doesn’t change much, a thing that still applies to the 3DS Langrisser. Granted, now she looks like a small girl, but all the elements Jessica has carried before are there, including some elements from past Urushihara designs. While I personally may think this is more or less tasteless design for the bodybuild, within fiction it has its own merits to argue that it exists. On the other hand, there is no dress and there is no Jessica to wear a dress like this. There’s no reason to treat Jessica has a human being. It’s only a cartoon, after all.

I do like the costume. It's simple, has a royal flavour to it and lines are clearly defined. It may be bit too sexy, but you're reading a post from a guy who usually defends porn
I do like the costume. It’s simple, has a royal flavour to it with clear linework. It may be bit too sexy, but you’re reading a post from a guy who usually defends porn

Licorice is a new character on herself, being the sister of Ares rather than Elma. With the whole dark motif she has going on for her, we can wager this has something to do with her kidnapping. Then again her name is Licorice and licorice is often dark but tasty. However, we can argue the same points with her design as it was with Jessica’s design, but then again this isn’t porn or remotely anything similar.

Whether or not either Jessica’s or Licorice’s designs are of good taste or something else is up to you. One on hand it can be argued that both have good design that serve their purposes and represent the ideas well enough, but some would argue that these designs are inappropriate. I would try to choose the golden middle path, arguing that both characters do have good design, but could use some tweaking in order to meet certain global threshold of accepted matters. The last part of that argument is bullshit thou, as there never can be one.

Mankind is not one nation with shared ideals. We barely can share same ideals within the same country, not to mention with our neighbours and friends. Thus, it should be more applicable to say that designs like this are not made to attract everybody. The 3DS Langrisser from its visual standpoint is clearly making a stance to stand separate from the older series, both Langrisser and Langrisser Millennium. The developers are aiming the core gamer market with this game. In Japan this often crosses over with people who have the anime sub-culture as their largest hobby. The same can’t be said of the rest of the world, as anime has never been truly mainstream. There has been mainstream anime, but that’s another thing. Anime doesn’t sell in the West because of that, but also because the visual style largely puts some people off. The sub-culture doesn’t do much favours to positively promote itself either, and there recently there has been an idiotic movement that tried to give certain game a better image by a very limited group of people, but we’ll get back to that soon enough. Langrisser has always been anime, and with the 3DS Langrisser representing the modern accepted image of the characters that the sub-culture in that part of the world accepts, who are we to say anything to it?

Fictional designs, whatever they may be, can be attractive or off putting. They most likely will offend some people while others applaud them for whatever reason. That does not mean that we have any rights to say what should be allowed and would should not, unless laws are broken. If one doesn’t agree with the presented product, this person has all the rights to vote with his wallet. That is true power a customer has. However, they have no rights to say that this won’t do because of one’s own feelings or worldviews. As long as we live in the realms of legality, limiting someone’s freedom to express his ideas in any form is extremely stupid, borderline illegal in some cases. Often than not it’s better to shut up than complain and be on your way to do something more pleasant, a notion I should most likely put into action more often.

Of course, designs change with time and some will argue how things are or were better
Of course, designs change with time and some will argue how things are or were better

Music of the Month; Futashika Tashika

Have I ever told you how difficult it is to choose a song every month? Despite these being more or less rants without any solid theme or anything similar, the music I introduce tends to have some sort of relevance and isn’t just a random selection. Most of the time. Still, any and all songs are absolutely something I personally enjoy. I don’t know whether or not this selfish approach tells anything outside that I really don’t stick with one type of music too much.

Anyway, to the music!

Give other Go!Go!7188 songs a try too. They have an excellent cover of Cutie Honey

 I want to give a shoutout to a RadioDrome special, where Josh Hadley has a very interesting and quite in-depth interview with none other than Buzz Dixon. Dixon worked on multiple cartoon and comics throughout the years, the likes of Thundarr the Barbarian, Transformers, Jem and G.I. Joe, plus whole lot more I’m not even properly aware of. It’s an excellent piece to listen for numerous pop-culture trivias that pop-up, but also just to hear the passion Hadley and Dixon share, but also how the industry has been run. Other than that, I recommend giving both RadioDrome and Lost in the Static a try, as they’re both pretty damn swell radioshows to listen while going to work or otherwise. A fair warning is in place thou, as Hadley has very, very strong opinions on certain matters, to say the least.

I’ve started to work fully on certain projects, so I apologise beforehand if the quality of the blog has dropped recently or will have posts with lesser content. I need to prioritise other things first, as blogging isn’t my job. If it would be, you’d see one or two posts per day. Possibly more.

I’m not satisfied how the last month’s review on the Shiranui Second Phase 3 turned out. It will be revised further when I have enough free time to sit down properly and work with it, as I simply forgot certain important tidbits in my hurry and didn’t even write a proper closure. As it stands now, it’s not even a mediocre review in my eyes. I’d estimate that I’ll revise it sometimes by the end of the month or so, but knowing me that estimation is off by six months. It may be better for me to revise it little by little.

Despite my own busy schedule (aren’t I always?), I have plans to return on TSF posts. If you hate when I talk about fictional giant robots, sorry. I intend to use pre-existing graphs of some of the more popular TSFs and their real world fighter plane sources to point out how the plane elements have been introduced to the design. It’s sort of old thing, but it has been on my to-do list for… few years now. Better later than never, right? My aim really is to write somewhat comprehensive design comparison, which requires some time, so it’ll be done unit by unit, and we’ll start with the more popular or easier ones. I’ll most likely be completely selfish and start with Su-47 Berkut.

Speaking of Muv-Luv, a mobage was released based on the franchise recently. It being your run of the mill browser based game on your smartphone, it’s not very good. Nevertheless, I keep tapping the screen on my almost broken HTC while doing something else. Hell, I’m tapping the screen while writing all of this in order to advance in the Missions/Quests, so there’s most likely more typos and language errors than usual. Then again, I already got the Common Hayase card, so I’m sort of content.

Somebody thought that I had moved on from Muv-Luv on 4chan. I heartily laughed at that
Somebody thought that I had moved on from Muv-Luv on 4chan. I heartily laughed at that

Another post that was actually requested from me was to make a comparison between Kimi ga Nozomu Eien characters and their BETAverse counterparts. It’s something that I’d like to do, but as always time is of the essence. I really need to start writing these bit by bit rather than in one go, like I usually do.

From matters to other, we live an era where childhood heroes and icon are dying. This is something certain generations have to face, and at the same time we have to realize that we need to allow the younger ones to have their own things. Even Leonard Nimoy wanted Zachary Quinto his own room to embrace Spock as his role and character he could work with. We, the older generations, will always have the past stories and products. Those can’t be ever taken away. However, at the same time we need to allow the younger generation to have their own heroes and icons. As much as we may hate certain people producing entertainment or other products, what we love has been opposed by the older generations.

Personally I will not hold the 3DS Langrisser reboot in any negative light because it’s not any of the older games. It has been long time enough since the last proper Langrisser game, and the new generation that are introduced to the world of Langrisser do not have to know anything that has been. They can research that later on and experience the past games if they so choose, but it is not demand or expected of them. I would say that it would be good to know about the past of the franchise if you’re going to discuss about Langrisser as a whole with a fan of the series, but that’s sort of beside the point. The point is, we can’t be stuck on the past, and we as the older generations need to embrace new things as well, rather than stifle the change.

 Dammit, I should’ve put some Jem songs up this month. Oh well, there’s always the next one, unless I go and die.

Masaya site updated

Well shit. Not only there’s gonna be a Langrisser game for 3DS, but there’s going to be an Assault Suit Leynos remake for the PS4. I guess this has been out for some time now, but hell if I’m following PS4 news. The original game was known as Target Earth in the West for the MegaDrive/Genesis, and the series is better known for its Super NES sequel Assault Suit Valken, or Cybernator. You know what Valken has in common with Langrisser outside the developers? The illustrator.

Awww yeah
Awww yeah, that’s the stuff

The one thing that bothers me with the Leynos gameplay is that it looks a bit too similar to the original, and Leynos’ gameplay isn’t the best. Most of it has to do with the stage designs, but in proper hands this remake should be able to get around such problems. Promising is that the developer of Gunhound, Dracue, has their hands on it. Well, it’s not the fame that counts, but the end result.

If you check all games’ title section, you can see that they’ve released pretty much every Masaya game out there for the Wii VC and PSN. The Japanese PC games ever are listed under Project Egg.

But what we want to do now is to turn our eyes on the Langrisser site.

Nothing special is there, a generic background music and basic info proudly stating the past games of Langrisser, including Millennium, and how the series has sold 100 million copies as a whole, a thing that is not really to celebrate. We could call this New Langrisser based on the splash info, and it is more than clear that they want to have faith in this game and resurrect Langrisser for the new generation and further its place as one of games everyone knows.

If you want to make Langrisser more mainstream, the fanscervice designs would need to be made into something more practical.

Nothing too different from the previous systems is revealed at this point. Generals’ range of influence over troops, turn based fights and drama events depending on situations. Character Class system seems to return and player is able to influence the final result of the characters’ classes, as per Langrisser standard. I guess it’s needless to separately say that each class has advantages and disadvantages.

All in all, sounds like a standard Langrisser game. I honestly expected a lot more. Sure, we get the same three factions Langrisser Schwarz played around with; Light, here translated as Brightness for whatever reason, Imperial and Darkness. What we’re going to get is a three-way battle with the Church of Lushiris, which has built an army to rebel against the Imperial forces.

Imperials are naturally have a powerful military and have conquered most of the continent with their flying fortress, the Ark, which is a relic from an ancient civilization. The Imperials seems to have set railways too and govern many nations with their artillery trains. Sounds a bit generic, and I can’t say Langrisser hasn’t dabbled with ancient super technology before, but this all sounds a bit steampunk.

The Darkness are outcasts, people who do not stand with the Light or the Empire. They are persecuted people carry their own special powers. Prince of Darkness Bözel leads their way.

Well, it seems we’re either going to get Langrisser, the sword itself, back at some point and Alhazard could be carried by Bözel.

OUR HEROES; Erim, Aris (or is it Alice?), Toku and Rozaria

The four heroes we’ve seen. Or will get. There’s nothing much we can actually say about them outside that Toku’s katana looks really out of place. Erim looks like your generic everyday chemist/alchemic, or some sort of warrior-priest-in-training. Let me guess; she’s Aris’ little sister, and he finds the holy sword Excalibur and goes against the Imperial forces. Rozaria joins Toku with some fanservice design, but whatever reason only Aris has a look of slight overdesign. I’m sorry, I keep comparing the designs to Urushihara, which should not be done. Anyways, both Toku and Rozaria follwo the true and tested fanaservice route of armours, but I’d wish they had something else than low-cut panties, thou I fully embrace the thigh highs. Technically not too shabby at all, and as this is a reboot for Langrisser these characters and designs need to be taken as their own.

And because this is a reboot it is also completely applicable to make comparisons to the original Langrisser.

Whenever we get a gameplay trailer out, we’ll get some more coherent and information on how the game will look in motion. Few still pictures amount of absolutely nothing, thou I do have to say that it looks somewhat loyal to the general view of classic Langrisser. I expected to see some sort of trailer today, but alas, they didn’t want to make my yearly day any more special.

Region free 3DS?

Two generations ago region circumvention was enough. Very few games supported any sort of patching on the sixth generation of video game consoles. Nowadays the story is different with each platforms from this and previous generation supporting large scale updating and patching.
Simple region circumvention isn’t cutting it anymore as the online functionality comes into way. For Pokémon it’s easy to see; people without certain patches won’t be able to trade or fight online. Second one would be Monster Hunter, where multiplayer patches could be highly important.
Secondly, there’s the problem of the consumer inability to access the possible DLC. While I’m not a huge fan of DLC myself, I know that there are those who wish to purchase so-called complete game every bit of colour variations and alternative outfits.

As such, regionthree for the 3DS is one limited little thing.
regionthree has been hailed as the loader that defeated the 3DS’ region locking. This, of course, is not the case. Wii’s region locking was defeated and humiliated harshly with sofmods, 3DS’ locking still applies. Be it the paranoid attitude of the 3DS hacking and homebrew scene towards piracy, or the fact that GateWay holds extremely harsh monopoly over both scenes, the 3DS users don’t benefit all too much from this launcher.
There exists a handful of games that regionthree allows to shine at their fullest potential. These games are single player and have seen no updates or DLC. One could argue that certain games that have more or less useless DLC belong to this category too with games that have something one wouldn’t purchase anyway. For example, Super Robot Wars UX is a complete game on itself and DLC stages only offer what one could call puzzle stages. These stand alone stages don’t add anything to the main game, but could be a nice extra if they had a cheaper price.
In order to defeat the current region locking 3DS now has would mean similar set of tools that a softmodded Wii has. I would argue that SONY’s take on the whole region locking has been rather good in comparison. There are problems that need to be faced before one can access the other region stores, but patches and other similarities are completely universal, independent from the region the system is in when it comes to physical games.

regionthree also requires you to be online during start up due to it using GateWay’s site. While I don’t have any problems with this, this is extremely bad design. There is an Android application to circumvent this problem, but otherwise the whole deal is just pretty damn bad. Even for a flashcard product this is something unforgivable and I have no idea why anyone would spent their money on a product that could brick both the console and the flashcard.

It’s like intentionally being an ass to the customer.

regionthree also raised a good question; what games are actually worthwhile importing from other regions? As this only applies to physical games, all the digital content is thrown out the window without any remorse. A lot of games are still being localised and I doubt most 3DS’ users have enough language skills to play something like New Love+. Speaking of New Love+, I’m divided if I should just throw my social life away and get one.

There are numerous games I would like purchase from local stores, but seeing how limited the launcher ultimately is there’s no way in hell I’d purchase a game I know I wouldn’t be able to take full potential out of. Then again, now people can get that 3D Sega compilation on cartridge rather than purchase them all separately from the eShop.
Anyways, regionthree shows that there really isn’t anything worth importing across regions that is not extremely niche, localised or getting a localisation. At least this is better than with PSVita, which has barely any original games. I’m extremely surprised that there is no sequel for Gravity Rush on the system already. I remember it being one of the most advertised games for the system, but now there is no advertisement for the system. It’s PSVita’s failing miserably or something. The system had promise and looked interesting, but nobody was actually making any good games for it. I can’t even collect those minimum of seven original games for the system to warrant a purchase. The list consists exactly one PSVita original game and even that is the aforementioned Gravity Rush. The rest are ports, sequels or remakes.

In that sense the PSVita shows a prevailing problem in the industry at large. Not only same stuff is recycled into new boxers, but there’s no chances taken. Of course I can’t deny that there is a very damn good reason to keep repeating the same thing over and over again, but an industry needs to renew itself at times in order to keep itself fresh. I guess the jump to 3D is a good example, despite 3D Mario historically having lower sales than 2D ones.

Perhaps people just want more 2D than 3D.

Back to 3DS and its region locking. I doubt Nintendo can just free it. This is because they most likely have a certain legal grounds that prevents them from just flipping the flag from 1 to 0 and allow the region freedom. This wouldn’t be enough. As with regionthree, the player would be unable to access any of the functions that would require different region eShop. I highly doubt that Nintendo would be willing to change their eShop system to support any kind of region freedom. It is more or less integrated to how the console functions. It would take somewhat massive reconstruction how their online store model would work. There would be a need to implement similar system that Sony already has. It just ain’t happening, but I hope I’m wrong.

I could see Nintendo releasing the region coding so that the eShop in itself, the application on the console, would still be regionally locked, but any and all physical games could fetch update and patch datas. Games that rely purchasing DLC via eShop would be screwed, but that’s something that could be slightly gotten around by patching the DLC functionality directly into the games.

I really hope I didn’t ramble too much, I was slightly under influence of brewed drink. For that, music time!

Top 5 games of 2014

Year is at its end, and it is time to go over the Games of the Year. Unlike with most other people listing theirs, this list will consist of any game I happened to play the first time this year. Why? Because modern market allows almost any game from any year to compete with the new productions thanks to the magic of re-releasing. That, and the overall industry doesn’t seem to give a damn about release dates, as they’re completely glad to give Year of X to titles that were released in other regions year earlier or later.

That said, there listed games are not in order of preference or what is best. As I began compiling this list about six months ago, the listed games are in the order they were played in, starting from very early January.

And oh, this post counts as my Monthly Review. You’ll soon see why.

DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou (Xbox 360,  2013)

Not one of my favourite trailers. Masu Star to yourself, you damn blobs

DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou may be the last DoDonPachi game CAVE said to make, but it’s no less enjoyable than the earlier entries. In these days when good shooting games are becoming somewhat a rarity, DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou is a welcome entry.

There’s very little to actually describe or tell about the game, as anyone who has played a vertically scrolling shooting game can already measure the core gameplay. Shooting game fans will call out now that scoring is inherently what makes the difference in gameplay, but ultimately they all are just about flying towards the top of the screen while blowing shit up as much as possible without dying yourself.

What may split your opinion on the game is how CAVE has move further emphasize on the cute characters in the series, and here it seems to blossom the most as the co-pilot keeps discussing with your operator and commenting on stuff in the 360 Mode. While I don’t personally find anything too negative in this, and even laughed at few things they say, there are those who will curse CAVE’s decision to bring this sort of stuff in.

The problem with any shooting game, especially with vertical scrollers, is that the genre sort of becomes a blob of gray mass if one isn’t well versed with it already. Without a clearly defined design that would allow it to stand out, a shooting game is muddled with generic visuals. SaiDaiOuJou falls into this category, as visually it doesn’t look any more interesting than the numerous other predecessors it has. That said, the visual are rather nice and all that, but they don’t stand out. It just may be that I have played far too many space ship shooting games in my time without being a hardcore fan who wants to one-coin each and every game.

However, how the game plays can’t be argued. With the experience CAVE has under its belt, I would expect nothing less than absolute perfection in function. While there are the occasional hiccups here and there you may not even notice, controls are absolutely to the point and only the player can be faulted for losing a ship or getting a hit. A whole another question is whether or not the game deserves enough time to put into it, but that’s a completely subjective thing.

However, it must be said that for this release CAVE decided to simplify things. Whereas DaiFukkatsu had somewhat complex mechanic bullet cancellation system in it, SaiDaiOuJou simplified things by returning to the core idea of shooting and dodging bullets. Nevertheless, AutoBombing returns from past titles, but some would regard this option a standard nowadays. Hyper System is a sort of mix of past iterations, where engaging the Hyper Mode boosts the ship’s weapons fill the screen with stream of bullets and erasin enemy bullets. Naturally, invincibility comes with the mode. However, here’s the thing; the Hyper Mode has ten levels of upgrading, and any time you engage the Hyper Mode, you lose all upgraded levels. The upgarde levels are essentially multipliers, and the higher the level, the bigger score multiplier is. If you don’t give a damn about your score, this system is a bit moot. The Rank level, essentially the game’s difficulty, is tied to the Hyper System; the more upgrade levels you have, the higher the Rank is. Using bombs and entering Hyper Mode lowers the Rank.

While that previous paragraph may sound a bit complex in text, it’s really something you instantly understand by intuition. Shooting games have the benefit that when they’re well designed from the core up combined with a good visual design that conveys the system, any and all players can understand what the hell all these mean by iconography alone. Because of that the amount of time you need to invest in DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou is relatively small in comparison to some of the more complex brethrens, namely DaiFukkatsu.

Music on the other hand works for the game during the gameplay but is completely forgettable. It’s so generic modern future-y techno. Perhaps that’s what the genre as a whole has become; generic.

Regarding the game Modes, there’s nothing special to mention, but all of them are well executed.

Arcade HD is just that, a pretty looking HD version of the original arcade game. However, this adds a sort of Challenge mode to it, where the player has some 50 tasks to complete in while playing the Arcade HD. They range from doable Kill first boss without dying to bullshittingly tedious Keep a chain through the whole game. Shooting game veterans and achievement hunters no doubt will love things like this, the normal player will just wave their hand at most of them and juts enjoy the game otherwise.

In all honesty, I had no idea what differences the 1.5 Mode had, so the Internet kindly told me to fuck off while telling me the mode was essentially just a generic patch to fix some bugs and tweak the system. Seeing it is its own mode, there was more than enough changes to warrant a separat Mode.

Xbox 360 Mode on the other hand is solely developed for the console. It’s essentially the story mode of the game, and we all know how much plotlines in either shooting or fighting games matter in the end. This is where all those talking heads come to play and the mode with the sleekest visual appearance. In 360 Mode, pretty much all the stuff about Rank and Hyper management is thrown out of window and the player has to keep one energy meter from falling to zero, or its Game Over. Hyper Mode kills make the enemies drop starbits that recover said energy. While otherwise you have a ship selection, the  360 Mode has just one ship. However, that ship is powered with extra weaponry and all that.

Also, Novice Mode is Easy mode the Game. To tell you the truth, I had rewrite this section about seven times because I couldn’t make sense what went into what mode without some extra sources. This is is because the only mode that doesn’t bleed to others is the 360 Mode, but that doesn’t keep the other modes bleeding into it. Ultimately, after having not played the game in some time, it’s far more hazy memory than Tatsujin/Truxton, a contender for this entry. While I personally prefer Truxton from the two, coin toss said DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou and the fact that I ended up playing it far more than Tatsujin.

If DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou would be the last big vertical shooting game, it would be a decent sendoff for the genre for the time being. Much like Godzilla movies, there are times when you need to take a break and let things level down properly to meet the new demand. Nevertheless, DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou kept its place in the Top 5 throughout the year simply because not many else managed to reach its level of quality. I’m not sure if this is a sign of what sort of quality 2014

Space Hunter (Famicom, 1986)

I’ll be straight; there’s two bits of music in Space Hunter and they both are pretty tinny

Space Hunter is a gem of a game, sort of. Hailing from the year 1986, this Kemco developed title will make you mute your TV and put on some high paced techno.

Space Hunter is kind of those games that just work. Despite it showing its age with the only two pieces of music it has, repitition in graphics and rough sprites, the game design is solid with extremely well made stages that not only encourage the player to venture deeper into the stages, but also to take their sweet time with things.

The game’s story is in the manual, as usual for a Famicom title. Set in 2199 after a world devastating nuclear war, humanity cling on robots and cyborgs for their survival. As per sci-fi trope, there is a mechanoid revolt led by De Gaulle and Earth is targeted with asteroids alá Yamato. A 16-years old cyborg labelled with N0. 000837192, called Altiana, does not agree with this and proceeds to kick seven planets worth of ass in order to protect humanity but also to show that not all mechanoids are all that bad.

Here’s the thing; the game is structured much like a non-linear adventure game would be, e.g. Metroid or Symphony of the Night. Initially there’s six worlds to choose from and you are able to select any of them as your starting point. If and when you get stuck on a world, you can always exit it at any time and move to another world. That’s similar non-linear approach Metroid used the very same year. While Metroid was on the Famicom Disc System, Space Hunter was on Famicom Cassette, which allowed saving for Metroid. The key difference between Space Hunter and Metroid is how the areas are structured, where Metroid created one whole world, Space Hunter opted for a more stage like approach akin to Mega Man. The final stage is unlocked after the initial six have been cleared, but every stage has an escape scenario, where a time bomb is ticking down. When the timer hits zero, or the player manages to escape, the planet explodes.

The action in the game is pretty nifty as well. The view is your normal side view outside dungeons, but most of the time you’re controlling Altiana in air, zipping around the scenery with her jetpack powered flight. The game does not use scrolling and plays like the Legend of Zelda in this regard, where the map has been designed to be played screen-by-screen. More importantly, it works extremely well. With this the player can tackle each screen properly without worrying about threats attacking off-screen, but also allows the player to escape any screen he feels like he can’t handle.

While Altiana zips around the screen completely free, all enemy types have their own little way of advancing towards Altiana. Some act like they home in to Altiana, while some simply move around and shoot now and then. Initially, Altiana has a bomb that explodes at infinite horizontal length when she is from the harms way. Thus, the player is required to do split-second decisions at times. Each stage contains items or weapons that are necessary to obtain in order to beat the game, thus exploring the game throughout is highly important, despite some stages having hidden doors that need to be bombed open. These hidden doors can hide stuff like Energy power-ups, but the game is completely beatable without ever upgrading the Energy meter. Extra weapons on the other hand are something you really want to get, as they can change your approach to the enemies drastically. The basic bomb may require player to mix the fast and methodical action, but e.g. Heart Beam allows you to shoot enemies down directly. The boxart shows Altiana holding a Beam Sabre, but you need to pick this weapon up from one of the planets.

In comparison to other games released in 1986 for the Famicom, Space Hunter had to compete with numerous seriously heavy weight contenders. The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, Arkanoid, OutRun, Bubble Bobble, Akumajou Dracula and Rolling Thunder rightfully took their place in electronic game history, and in comparison Space Hunter looks and sound archaic. If the game had been released a year or two earlier, it would have been a great hit. While the gameplay is still solid, the music and visuals do betray its nature as one of the lesser releases of the year, but one that still holds up relatively well. Space Hunter sort of fell into the crevice where it wasn’t good enough to be remembered but not bad enough to gain any infamy. There is a minor cult following to it in Japan, but then again almost everything has a cult following in Japan. In 1986, Space Hunter would not have been success in the West without some serious revamping, so it really was better to leave it as Japanese exclusive at the time.  I ended up with my cassette because I tend to buy blind game sets from time to time for dirt cheap, and found this in one of those.

If you can’t tell, I’m rather passionate about Space Hunter and I don’t even know why. Preferences be damned.

Senran Kagura 2 Shinku (Nintendo 3DS, 2014)

Unlike with the blobs in DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou, these are the things that sort of matter as they’re the main focus

While agenda driven people will call the game shit because of its abundance of titular action, Senran Kagura 2 Shinku really is a solid game I really couldn’t put down.

Truth to be told, Senran Kagura 2 Shinku is nothing all too special in terms of bringing anything new to the table. However, it is exactly the kind of game Senran Kagura was supposed to be, at least from the customer perspective. In comparison to the first game, practically everything has been improved to the point that the first game is simply obsolete. If one has access to this title, there’s no reason to get the first one, unless you’re a completionist or care about the story that much.

Essentially, the player controls one of the multiple kunoichis in order to tackle often multi-part stages either alone or with a friend, either AI or an actual friend who bought the game as well. While the two core sides of Senran Kagura intentionally mirror each other, each character has their own weapons, movesets and key differences in gameplay, even thou speed, jump power etc. seems to be universal across the board. It would have been nice to see every character specialised even more, almost to your normal VS. fighting game level.

Comparing the controls to the first , they’re a tad more technical and require just a hint more skill, but that small difference makes this title worlds apart. Y is your standard attack you’ll most likely be mashing for most of the time, but the combo tree now requires you to hold the attack button as well. X works as character specific modifier, to some adding an attack while some have equipment changes. This adds s level of dynamic fluidity to the core gameplay, which most people could ignore if not for the lack proper Guard. Senran kagura 2 Shinku opts for sort of Burst, to loan a term from Guilty Gear, where the character sends a burst of energy to cancel damage and push enemies away. In air this will cause the character to do a ground pound with the same effect. R is reserved for dashing and this move will be your friend in avoiding some attacks. I’ve done some damn nice weaving across enemy attacks when I’ve been top of my gameplay. Holding R will initiate the classical ninja run. However, when locked to an enemy, you will hit the enemy with a wire and essentially home into them. Properly combining this homing with launching finisher can rack you long damn combos. A is a dedicated character switcher, and balancing between the characters and their scroll counts (which allow you to pull off Special moves) is somewhat important. Of course, during multiplayer your friend will be controlling the other character all the time.

Another thing is that the game makes use of the Circle Pad Pro in that it adds some level of camera control. However, the core design of the camera function is actually rather well executed and there is no real reason to get the addon just for this title. I would rather have my fingers on the controls at all times in this one.

Unlike the first game, Senran Kagura 2 Shinku is not a cakewalk. It’s not absolutely horseshit with its difficulty either, but in a good region where the game does feel challenging but fair. Some of the reviewers in Japan did complain that the game was too hard, but far from the true. If the Normal difficulty feels too hard, one can always drop to easier level. However, the hardest difficulty level does up itself to bullcrap level, but this is more because the controls, while significantly upgraded, are still not up to the task. Not to say that the game controls badly or anything like it, but it’s still a far cry from absolutely accurate controls like in e.g. Bayonetta. The controls just would have needed one more notch up to be just perfect.

Outside the core game, there is a Challenge mode, where you have a pyramid made of hexagons. Every stage ups the difficulty with more and more opponents with varing kinds, and the lower you get in the pyramid, the larger selection of stages you have to tackle. Some of them can be insanely hard, but the pyramid is an excellent place to level up.

Oh yeah, Senran Kagura 2 Shinku has levelling up system. It’s nothing special and same as in every game, despite lacking any numbers to show your stats. The stat that matters any is the Friendship level, and you’ll find yourself playing stages over and over with different character combination to increase their Friendship levels.

A welcome addition to the game is proper level of customization. By unlocking pieces of clothing and weapons you can then create your own ninja chimaera of a costume for whatever character you so choose. I decided to change every character’s clothing to something else, and I completely admit putting a bunny girls costume on Homura because it fits her so perfectly. The alternative weapons look pretty damn nifty and of course there are spoof armaments to boot.

Anyways, with the customization you also have sort of posing mode. There’s numerous poses and faces you can choose from and save the pictures for you SD card. As the game has the whole dual character dynamics going on, you can pose your favourites in racy way. Or not. There’s some potential in there, but in all honesty it’s more a curiosity than anything else.

Music is absolutely great. I’m sure this is more dependant on the listener, but I can say that I enjoyed the soundtrack very much to the point of listening to it while working. Especially the arrange soundtrack. Overall, the soundtrack varies from light, everyday tunes to very hard hitting boss battle themes. They’re never intrusive or will overstay their welcome, but dammit if they’re not something I’m happy to own.

No the best song in the game, but it’s nicely hard hitting

The 3D offered here is one of the best I’ve seen on the system. It also helps that the 3D has some use in determining the character placement on the field. This isn’t essential, but it’s nice to see some 3D with decent framerate when compared to some of Nintendo’s own games, which have horrible 3D going on for them. I don’t know why Nintendo kept pushing 3D as the new thing, but very few of their games actually have managed to use it in a non-intrusive way with at least decent framerate. Hell, I expected Game Freaks to get their Pokémon games to look smooth, but they’re just choppy messes. Of course, the 3D here also allows you to oogle the ample ‘talents’ of the characters as much as you can in the posing mode.

Senran Kagura has come a long from its initial, really low quality entry that seemed to rely mostly on the fanservice than anything else. I would have liked to see this level of quality from the get-go, but it seems the series has more life on PSVita anyways in other forms of games. Senran Kagura 2 Shinku saw abysmal sales and I have some doubt whether or not there’s going to be a third entry in the main series for the 3DS in action game genre.

That said, the ending of Senran Kagura 2 Shinku was absolutely perfectly executed. The blend of gameplay, style and everything that the game had been building up to that point created a perfect climax that only a few game achieve. It is without a doubt the game I played most on the 3DS this year alongside Super Out-Run!, which is another absolutely superb game, which deserves a spot in my Top 5 Games of the Decade. Nevertheless, Senran Kagura 2 Shinku is a game that needs to be given a long try, even if you disliked the first game to a large extent in regards of the gameplay.

What I love the most about this game is how lax it is. It allows the player to jump in and jump out at any point, tackle a challenge or two or try to beat a new story stage and be on their way. Despite this, the challenge it throws is often on the spot. Or almost bullshit on the harder level with lower level characters with no ally in play.

Bayonetta (Xbox 360, 2009)

Speaking style and climaxes, I decided to get Bayonetta after playing Metal Gear Rising a bit too much and yearning something more.

Despite not really liking the Devil May Cry series, it feels that Bayonetta is a perfect example how improving a formula to the point of making past games obsolete is the key to move onwards. A lot of most important points in game design and coding has to be almost absolutely on-point in games like Bayonetta, otherwise the whole game will suffer from having a lax core. Bayonetta is not one of those games, otherwise it would be an awful, awful experience all around.

No, Bayonetta is one of those kind of games that throw a bullshit level challenge at the player, but at the same time giving the player all the tools to burn the bullshit down without any of the foul smell as long as the player is up to the task. Senran Kagura 2 Shinku could be Bayonetta level game if the core had been as polished and accurate, and where it becomes a slugfest, Bayonetta gracefully evades this.

One could almost say that Bayonetta has perfect difficulty curve. However, it is a complete waste to play the game on the easier levels at all. As said, the game has pretty much perfect controls and gives the player every tool he needs to solve any situation, but all these tools truly shine and see use when the game pulls the player’s skill through the roof.

Rather than repeating same things other sites have said, let’s talk about P.N.03, a game that was released for the GameCube in 2003. P.N.03 has certain elements that remind a lot of Bayonetta in a far more restrictive format, but similarly once the player masters the gameplay, you might as well bump the difficulty to maximum level and proceed to give the game its ass. Not only that, but the main character Vanessa has similar classy, nonchalant attitude Bayonetta has but also knows know her value. The two design worlds couldn’t be further apart between the games, P.N.03 concentrating on clean, simplistically futuristic white designs (that sometimes look something like Apple could come with in few years) whereas Bayonetta has darker, highly detailed stone structures with fantastic twists to them. However, P.N.03 has more in common with Vanquish thematically.

Seeing how Platinum consists of ex-CAPCOM employess, it’s only natural to see this sort of thing happening. I would rather see this sort of past experiences put into good use rather than wasting them. Exploration of ideas that were not mature enough at the time or didn’t have enough to develop themselves into full bloom is another that we’ve seen to some extent with Platinun. Evolution of ideas and themes has been sort of trademark from Platinum to the extent one could fault them for creating an offering from the company that seems far too homogeneous for its own good. While I agree with the notion that a company should mainly concentrate on what it does best, it should also be noted that a becoming a one-note company may be a death sentence in entertainment business.

GODZILLA (PlayStation 3, 2014)

When discussing Godzilla games, the reality is that none of them are great. There are good games, and Godzilla-kun on the GameBoy is surprisingly well made and the Atari monsters fighters like Save the Earth are not bad by any means. Despite this, all Godzilla games have a niche audience as they don’t really work outside fanbase, albeit the aforementioned Atari monster mash games were party worthy. Nevertheless, truly great Godzilla game has yet to arrive. Often people just want to step into Godzilla’s shows and proceed to destroy anything in their path. It’s a simple concept, but thus far it’s been rather limited is success. The Dreamcast Godzilla games were the closest thing to this idea, but the execution left a lot of desire. The numerous Godzilla strategy games never really were all that good, thou the one on Saturn is probably the best of the lot. With the success of Street Fighter, it was no wonder Godzilla saw few 2D fighting game during the VS Series era. However, SNK’s King of the Monsters was largely more influential to the point almost all giant monster games were modelled after. The aforementioned Atari Godzilla games are a prime example of this.

The 60th Anniversary game of Godzilla, aptly just named GODZILLA, will be a game that some love and some will think is shit because it’s not any of the Atari monster masher games. As such, if you’re looking for this game to be anything like them, you’re sorely going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you go in with an open mind, you’ll soon find a very enjoyable, multi-routed Godzilla simulator that by all means is the Godzilla game people have been expecting. To a point.

How the game is structured is stage based, a thing I wholeheartly welcome. Each stage has four Data collection points, where the player is expected to pose Godzilla for the camera while an unseen soldier takes a picture. It’s sort of fun to try to get the best looking shot possible. The stages themselves contain structures for Godzilla to destroy to oblivion, which is absolutely necessary in order to collect Energy, a thing that applies to G-Force units as well. The main objectives of destruction are G-Energy Generators, which usually end the stage when all of them are destroyed. By chaining these destructions together, Rush bars fills like any other combo bar, and by keeping the Rush bar adding to itself keeps the Energy multiplier rising. x10 may be the biggest multiplier in the game, but it’s essential to keep up in order to reach why you even collect Energy; to get Godzilla over 100m high. In this game, Godzilla grows as he collects Energy, which affects Godzilla’s properties. By getting over 100m height, and using all the Data collection points in each stage in your selected route, you unlock the Final Stage, where at least on the Hard route you fight the Hollywood Godzilla. The thing is, at this point the player Godzilla has triggered the Burning state and is about to explode, much like in Godzilla VS. Destroyah.

Let’s take a moment to realize that this fits both monsters extremely well. Burning Godzilla by logic would leak radioactive materials and irradiate its surroundings like a nuclear bomb that keeps exploding and walking. The Hollywood Godzilla feeds on radioactivity, and would be the better source of food than another, world ending Godzilla?

There are numerous other monsters about as well, not met in every stage. Pretty much all of these are fan favourites, ranging from all three Mecha Godzillas, Millenium series version of Gigan, Mothra’s both forms, King Ghidorah and Biollante. However, G-Force is not helpless. As the Disaster level grows, the more equipment is thrown at the player. Initially it’s pretty normal tanks and helicopters, but escalation Maser Cannons and Super X machines are thrown in. Later on, you will face a stage where there is a time limit (the G-Generators will be withdrawn underground, thus preventing their destruction when time is up) with all three Super X machines attacking Godzilla, entering the fray in sequence.

While the stages gets pretty damn hectic at the latter half of the game simply due to the amount of units thrown at the player, as well as the enemy monster appearances sometimes combined with a time limit, they are rather small. All the smaller stages however are the most interesting ones, as they contain the most buildings to destroy and have the best overall atmosphere all the while the larger stages have very little to destroy and large areas to walk through. However, there is a good balance between stage size and destroyable objects in Oil refinery/ port and is probably my personal favourite because of this. However, finding the most efficient way to move through the city to maximise the energy gain will makes the stages dull. The stages do replicate some of the iconic cities and places from the movies, but they lack variety. Next to this, almost every stage is repeated throughout the game. For example, there’s two variations of the oil refinery, one with thick fog and one with sunlight. That’s it. Even the G-Force unit placement seems to be exactly same between the two.

It’s not really fun to see more city outside the boundaries, to be honest. You know it’s there, but you can’t destroy anything there. There’s a stage, where you can see cars and buses parked outside the stage area, but nothing damages them. Atomic breath even reaches them, but does nothing. Larger areas would be nicer to have, but it would be even better if there was more variety in them with more imaginative places with a level of hazards, like a volcano or beach. Multiple monsters per stage is another thing that should have been a no-brainer. Whether or not the PS3 could handle that is not really the question, but how it should have been executed.

Stage repetition is a problem; you are forced to play through the initial few stages every time you replay the game for a new route. The length of the game overall something many people will be turned off by, as I managed to finish about 50% of the routes in my first four hours of play. The amount of enemies found is also lacking, enemy monsters counting at twelve, three of which are a Mecha Godzilla. The addition of three Super X machines help in this alongside Gotengo, but ultimately the four aforementioned shared too many common tactics among each other. The repetition found in GODZILLA is very much loyal to the form found in the movies, thus it would be highly recommended to play a route at longest per session, otherwise the game may feel like its overstaying its welcome and neither nostalgia of fan obsession will rejuvenate the charm of often visited stages. The tedium is upped with certain unskippable scenes that repeat every single time. They’re not longer than few seconds, but when you have a methodically slow paced with further slowing parts, you just want to mash that Start button and skip all of them. Including forced tutorial, because nobody except three of us read manuals anymore.

This being a cross-generation game, the visuals will without a doubt be superior on PS4 but I wouldn’t give a damn about that. However, whenever there is a huge amount of stuff flying across the screen, like destruction of half a dozen of tanks, seven helicopters dropping from the sky, loads of buildings getting wrecked, Super X flying and shooting at Godzilla all while Biollante decides to spit acid, the console feels a bit overwhelmed by all this. The slowdowns are not uncommon, but I have to say they do have certain cinematic feel to them, allowing the player to take in the action in a very different way, but of course is horseshit when one remembers that this is a game and not a movie.

However, despite that I would be somewhat willing to give leeway with this. GODZILLA is very much a tokusatsu recreation game at its core and the scene is highly important. This is reflected in the control scheme as well. While most of you have learned to control the aim with the camera with the right stick, in GODZILLA the right stick moves only the camera. Nothing is relatively to it, only to Godzilla. If you were to move right, Godzilla would move to his right. Godzilla moves forward with the left stick or D-Pad, but rotates like a tank or Resident Evil character with L1 and R1. All face buttons are use for attacks and general control, and L2 is reserved for Special attack and R2 is more akin to attack modifier. Now that I think of it, I never used R2, it’s that useless. If you’ve ever played Mega Man Legends’ PlayStation version, the controls are somewhat similar. However, these tank controls simply work and you do feel that you’re controlling a giant monster despite sometimes interesting flailing going on the screen at times. Much like the movies themselves, GODZILLA doesn’t concern itself with realism too much.

However, the game holds your hands too much in regards of the controls. For you beam breath attacks, you have three options; normal ground hitting one, a ground sweeping one and then enemy locked version. Outside these three, you have zero control of it, exactly like in any other Godzilla game and this is just awful. This is a lazy to ensure that the breath attack is not overpowered, but the lack of control means you have to control Godzilla in proper position. This would be acceptable if not for the fact that the running tackle homes in. If you’re slightly angled off an enemy in order to rush a building next to it, the running tackle will adjust Godzilla towards the enemy. This makes fine tuned tactical positioning impossible, forcing the player to use over exaggerated, almost 90-degree angle positions, motions and movements. This is especially infuriating against enemies that are considerably larger than you. For example, Destroyah often appears in 100m scale, where Godzilla may be just 70m or 80m. There are multiple positions and points in Destroyah’s attacks moves player could make use of, but because of these hand held controls it’s better to abandon any tactical aspects and just blast away. It’s frustrating to fight an overwhelming enemy and trying to get proper data photo of it while fighting the controls at the same time.

Then again, pretty much every single enemy monster can be caught into a pattern of running tackle > tail whip >repeat. Throw one or two breath beams in there here and there and you’ll beat every single opponent in the game.

Music in the game is, without a doubt, accurate. The game has some original sounding compositions, but familiar tunes are visited and the whole overall atmosphere it adds is what you would except. Same goes for the sound effects and there is nothing to criticize. I would have wanted to see some Godzilla Island references, but I guess even the most Japanese fans hate that show.

The main mode you’ll in be playing is the Destruction Mode, which contains everything mentioned above. Go reread that if you want to.

Second mode is King of the Monsters, which is essentially a series of VS. fights against the enemy monsters. The aim is to finish the fights as fast as possible. Initially you only have Godzilla open, but you can unlock Hollywood Godzilla with pre-order code and Burning Godzilla by getting to the Final Stage. The mode in general is nothing special, but it would have been great if this mode could’ve been a proper VS. fight mode with two players.

Evolution Mode is where you modify Godzilla’s stats, like getting more Temperature gauges, which allows you to use more than one atomic breath in sequence before regeneration is complete. This also opens more attack moves, and all these are dependent on monster parts you somehow gain while beating up enemies in the Destruction Mode.

Diorama Mode is pure fanservice. There are numerous stages set out where you can place monsters in almost as you like in order to replicate a scene or create something completely new. These pictures then can be saved, used and shared, but the models are somewhat restricted and posing is not all too dynamic. Diorama Mode is a nice addition, but the lack of freedom keeps it from being an absolute blast to use. I still see some people sinking hours upon hours to get the best possible picture, but overall the mode’s promise lefts wanting a bit more. However, there’s a catch; all the poses taken via the Data Points translate to poses in the Diorama Mode, so multiple playthroughs with various photos of Godzilla and other monsters is a must.

Monster Field Guide on the other hand is just that; a guide to the monsters in the Godzilla franchise. The thing that makes me all giddy is that the guide seems to be list pretty much all major monsters from the franchise as well as some of the units like Gotengo. It lists differences between series, like Manda’s lenght or Hedorah’s height.

Ultimately, GODZILLA falls a bit short. It’s a remarkable Godzilla game a lot of people have been waiting for since the genesis of home video games, yours truly included, but it feels like the devs finished the initial content but didn’t have any time expand it enough. This may be just my own expectations crushed, however.  If this is going to spawn some sort of upgrade or sequel, all they really need to do is refine the code and add more content in form of more stages, monsters and that play VS. player mode. Godzilla 2, or whatever it is, needs more aliens and other monsters. The growing gimmick could be discarded altogether to boot, as the whole thing really is just about racking the highest score.

Nevertheless, the game is pretty damn remarkable piece of the Godzilla franchise and it’s good to see it getting a Western release, thou as an importer I can say that it has zero language barrier.


Handheld homebrew ahoy!

With the release of what game works as they key component for the initial beginnings of the 3DS homebrew, the game’s price skyrocketed like no other and almost every place sold out of it. Little bit of googling should reveal that game to you and then some. The game was pulled from the Japanese 3DS eShop within 24h, as it was the only digital version that could use the exploit.

Multiple consoles in the past have seen their own homebrew to some extent. There’s only few selected machines that did not see any sort of homebrew scene. Just checking all the apps the Wii’s scene has seen tells a pretty great story. The hackers and homebrew developers have taken practically all of the Wii’s functions under their controls to some extent. You even have an app to control the Wii’s disk drive’s light. Taking control over such trivial things is pretty awesome, which is pretty awesome.

By going with the WiiBrew’s list, there’s some homebrew Software developed. Some of them are more or less just slight remakes of past titles, like the mandatory Pong or Poker. The number of software is rather staggering, and there are some surprising ones as well like WiiPhysics, a software that is just a physics playground. It’s not as vast as e.g. Garry’s Mod, but does the job.

As with most modern console homebrew, there emulation. Emulators themselves are a bit gray area. For example, Nintendo’s stance on emulators is interesting in that their website does not really judge the emulators themselves. Their stance keeps referring to the ROMs and their validly illegal status and how emulators endorse illegal downloads. While they are in right, it is good to recognize how emulation enforces historical archival of digital goods, which in turns also allows people to have access to games that could not be released in their original forms nowadays or in the future. In this sort of situation, the emulation itself would have no impact on the possible future sales of the software. There’s also the fact that certain companies are not willing to put their older games on current consoles. Then you have consoles like the Sega Saturn, where the original source codes have been lost due to various issues. For example, Princess Crown on PSP ran on Saturn emulation and had all sorts of issues. The only way to get Princess Crown in proper form to modern systems would be to rebuild the game from scratch.

Still, licensed or not in any form, ROM downloads are judged as illegal, unless your local legislation begs to differ. Copyrighted stuff have their own legal standings, but then again you always have products that have no owner and become abandonware.

It’s also laughable to prosecute people for physically modding their consoles. From the consumer point of view, the owner of the system can do damn well anything with it in their own discretion, be it modding or using as line weight.

There are numerous loaders, system tools and utilities for the Wii homebrew to utilise, and sometimes they can be very useful albeit highly dangerous. All these are most likely candidates to see early development in 3DS Homebrew. I’ve read somewhere that the 3DS region is only one flag that determines whether or not the console has region locking, so one utility developed could me to turn the flag off, thus making the console region free. Don’t quote me on the function, but unlocking region is one of the things most homebrew users would like to see. Wii has AnyRegion Changer and GCBooter are there to circumvent regional lockouts in Wii’s system level and in GameCube discs.

Unlike GCBooter, AnyRegion Changer is a dangerous tool in the hands of those who don’t know what they’re doing. These effects range from changing the video output to one that your screen doesn’t support to bricking your Wii. Seeing how Nintendo seems to somewhat similar tech in the 3DS and Wii U, similar tools most likely will surface to reach similar effects.

Knowing homebrew, there will be multiple exploits in the future as these devs and hackers gain further understanding what makes the 3DS tick. It is somewhat uncertain how large scene 3DS will see, but we can be sure that certain apps will be developed at some point, somehow. Every and all console companies are afraid of piracy, and it must be said that homebrew does not equal piracy. However, the reality is that piracy will follow in suit. It most likely will be somebody else than the people who developed the exploit/s or initial homebrew. There are both positives and negatives on piracy. It is illegal, that’s no under dispute, but we also can’t ignore all the positives piracy can bring with it, historical archival being one of them.

As mentioned, Nintendo has already taken steps to prevent the use of the exploit. Nintendo has the power to turn some of these people away with few simple changes in how their console works. Region locking being one of them, and it is not all too uncommon to hear somebody who pirates games to tell region locking is the only reason he resorts to it. After all, there are numerous games even on the 3DS that never left the regions.

You may be asking whether or not I would be using this exploit if I would have the possibility. The answer is twofold; I don’t see value in it at this time, at this very moment, but the idea of using software from different region is a selling point for me. I don’t give a damn about piracy on 3DS, as the number of must-have software is quite low, but spread across regions. Of course, your taste most likely differs a lot from mine and thus your must-have titles could be found in your specific region.

Nintendo most likely will only tighten the security on their system, but no system is completely secure. There will be future exploits made, and the system will be cracked. The tighter the system is, the more certain individuals will enjoy cracking it open.

Mega Man Legends 3 is not the game we need, but I sure hell would like to have it

Whenever I hear somebody saying that we need something in our lives, I question whether or not we truly need it, especially something that is not vital for our lives. Games are not important to our lives, despite electronic games being one of the biggest industries out there. The chances of a single game being something we’d need is very low. One could argue that a game like Super Mario Bros., Pacman, Space Invaders and any of its brethrens in cultural impact are the games that we, are the needed bodies of works.

This post is a response to Matthew Jessup’s entry in Nintendolee.com. The bold claim that Mega Man Legends 3 is a needed title stems from loving fandom, a thing I share towards this somewhat dead game franchise. However, I will be playing devil’s advocate here and balance with further issues.

While I’d like to concentrate on Legends 3, Mega Man Universe is mentioned first. It’s one of those titles nobody expected and nobody wanted, and Jessup is right in that it would have been the Little Big Planet of Mega Man, which in itself is already something to worry about. Little Big Planet became a franchise of its own and hosted multiple different themes, which made it work so well. While Mega Man has seen its own genre shifts, they have been kept logically separate and allowed to exist on their own terms, Mega Man Battle Network being the best example. MMUniverse would have ridden on the fame of the Mega Man name, which alone should raise some eyebrows. CAPCOM has a strong line of franchises to utilise rather than stick with only Mega Man. This of course raises another question; Why concentrate only on Mega Man when you already had confirmed visiting characters and variations of iconic characters? The game could have been called CAPCOM universe and could’ve contained multiple different franchises across the board as well as allow multitude of different tactics to tackle stages. Then again, comparing it to Mega Man 2 seems to be fishing fan credits. For better or worse, Mega Man Universe was cancelled, and for all the good reasons. Using a 26-years old game as your main advertising point only works once, after which it’s time to move onwards.

Also, we got to play as the Bad Box Art Mega Man in SFxT, which only very few individuals found likeable, and CAPCOM really went overboard with this particular meme in the turn of 2010’s anyways. It was apparent that they were trying to pull in the old guard, the thirty-something gamers rather than doing expansion like most previous instalments.

This wasn't even a cameo, but a full fledged entry
This wasn’t even a cameo, but a full fledged entry

Unlike Duke Nukem Forever, Mega Man Legends 3 was not in making for 11 years. Duke Nukem was in development hell for 15 damn years, while Legends 3 merely sat in the minds of the devs. I bring this comparison up because Duke had no relevancy in gaming anymore when Forever finally came out. The game was out of its time, despite all the modern systems bolted unto it. Fans of the Legends franchise have built their own expectations on the game, and it would be insanely hard to meet these expectations.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Legends 3 saw such a huge backslash from the fandom, as they finally got their hands on actual designing of the game with the Dev Room. Unlike how Jessup makes it look, the DevRoom wasn’t anything revolutionary. BETA access is nothing new and Mega Man has been known to run Boss Character contests. Then you have all the customer driven early access titles, which are similar how the end-consumer could affect the final product. DevRoom was far more transparent, but that transparency wasn’t necessarily all that positive. For one, it required the team to handle a lot of PR with the DevRoom as well as keep the contests running as well as post concepts that may not even end up in the final product. It’s a lot more hassle than one would initially think. These models, enemy designs, concept art etc. would have ended in our laps nevertheless as per artbooks and other documentation.

The DevRoom could have been a good idea when Legends 3 was approaching its final deadline after the actual, final greenlight. In modern development cycle, games may be scrapped or drastically changed in the middle of production for various reasons, and there are more games cancelled that eventually get out. DevRoom never took into account that Legends 3 could be cancelled, and I have no doubts one reason DevRoom even existed was to keep the consumers aware of it in hope that CAPCOM would keep it under active production. Whether or not Legends 3 was cancelled due to Inafune leaving is an open discussion I do not take part in, but it would have been probable that his levity in CAPCOM would have kept Legends 3 in production.

DevRoom ultimately is the only controversy surrounding Legends 3, which is that a game that was promised by certain person within the company was ultimately cancelled. DevRoom game the customer a glimpse to the functions of game industry, where even people who worked with the game with great anticipation saw the product cancelled. Well, there’s the CAPCOM Europe claiming the fans didn’t want the game bad enough, but that’s not a comment made by the DevRoom. It still reflected badly to CAPCOM overall.

Jusspe uses DevRoom as one of the points why Legends 3 needed to be later on by using his pre-established arguments. As much as DevRoom showed some of the development done on the game, it ultimately was a facade in itself. We knew of this one team working on the game, whereas there was most likely a lot happening behind the scenes than what we ever saw with DevRoom. Sargon of Akkad has a long discussion with a electronic game concept artist, who opens the doors of generic game development more than GameDev could even hope to show. It’s an interview anyone interested in game development wants to listen to.

Understanding that stories can have multiple kinds of endings seem to escape a lot of people. Jussep suggests that we are in need for an ending, a closure, for the Legends series. Whether or not Legends series was ever to be intended to be a trilogy should be questioned, as I’ve found no valid proof of this assertion. The Internet does not yield any relevant interviews and source books have nothing to say about this. Then again, Legends series is already a trilogy on the home consoles when you consider the Misadventures of Tron Bonne is considered as the third entry in the series even by CAPCOM themselves as evident by Rockman Perfect Memories sourcebook.

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Was Legends 2 ending planned Legends 3 in mind? Probably it was, but it’s also an ending in of itself. It may be an unfulfilling ending to many, seeing Rock is on Elysium, and Roll and Tron are building a rocket to go pick him up. It’s an ending western world has some tough time to swallow without chewing it some. Open endings can go either way, but it is nevertheless an ending. Games should be able to stand own their own feet in every regard, and if Legends 3 would require people to know the Legends 2 ending in order to be introduced to the gameworld, it’s not very well designed game. Metal Gear Solid went full stupid with this. The closure the fans need is not necessarily the game in of itself. CAPCOM could just employ some light novel writer to make a small book how the story would have its closure. There’s nothing to prevent this from happening and it would be much cost effective rather than developing a fully fledged game.

Second point made is how Legends 3 would have been a system seller. This would not have been the case. A game called Mega Man Legends 3 makes anyone question where is Legends 1 and 2. Another thing would have been that the player would have began playing as Barrel rather than as Mega Man, the titular hero. For a fan this would’ve been a system seller for sure, but to the majority of game market it would have been a curiosity. Jussep is right in that 3DS has no real system seller of its own, but by that definition Legends 3 couldn’t be one either as a sequel to a PSOne game. The author does admit openly that it would have been a system seller to him personally, and I completely agree with him. People have bought game systems for worse games anyways.

Jussep remarks how 3DS has gone the way of the GameCube, which went the way of the N64, and marks how 3DS is in need for high value third party games to ensure success. I agree with him, but note that Nintendo itself has not put too many high grade games on the system that are original. Legends 3, as it was shown in its early stage, would not have been truly original either. It’s status as a sequel already denies it that merit, but also the fact that Inafune developed Lost Planet’s game engine in plans of using it in Legends 3. If you’ve played Lost Planet games, especially EX Trooper, you’ve already played how Legends 3 would have played like, overall speaking. It’s also very apparent that assets from Legends 3’s development cycle ended up in Gaist Crusher, which seemed to be successful enough to warrant that sequel I need to get around at some point.

Was Legends 3 the end of Mega Man? No, Mega Man was finished before Legends 3 even set into production. All these productions that were cancelled were like unsung swansongs. As I mentioned earlier, you can only advertise yourself with a 26 years old game once. Mega Man 9 was a nice shot of nostalgia, but after that CAPCOM should have picked it up and develop a proper sequel rather than Mega Man 10. I would put more emphasize on the lacklustre design and success of MM10 on how the series ended. It wasn’t a big bang, it wasn’t even a damn whimper. It was a blocky retro sequel.

Jussep’s final argument is that Mega Man is CAPCOM. This argument was valid in 1980’s and 90’s and first half of 00’s with Battle Network’s Mega Man.EXE. The author makes extremely good point how Mega Man is, by all means, an ageless character that can stand the test of time as long as he is treated properly.

That is exactly why CAPCOM has been franchising Mega Man lately in any other form but games for a long time now. The Archie Comic indeed is one of the best thing that has happened to the Blue Bomber, but I’m afraid the dropped the ball with Mega Man X. Let’s not kid with ourselves; Mega Man games saw a dip in quality from 2002 onwards, from which they never quite recovered. Starforce saw very low sales for a reason.

Legends 3 would not have been an entry point to a new generation. The Mega Man Jussep refers to is the Classic Mega Man, not the Legends’ Volnut/Trigger. Battle Network is a good example how to introduce a Mega Man to a new generation by creating a new generation game for them. Some could argue that Mega Man X followed this idea as well. I agree with Jussep that Legends series carries bright and chunky visuals, as it is very clear how Legends is modelled after morning cartoons. All you need is a clock on the top corner. Gameplay is divisive, and while I enjoyed the Legends1, 2 and the Misadventures of Trone Bonne gameplays myself.

So, against Jussep’s conclusion, I would argue that we do not need Mega Man Legends 3. We need a Mega Man game that would introduce the franchise to the new generation without shackling it to the old, but allowing expansion to multiple directions. Not only that, but the game would need to be something unique in its own rights and make itself stand against the almost thirty years of Mega Man we now have. The notion that any company should make a game for loss, especially nowadays, has not gone through enough thinking. Any and all products out there are made to make money, even when it’s recognized it would be a niche product. It is very true that Legends fans had their hearts with this game, but it’s also undeniable that Legends series never had as high profile reputation as its fellow series within the franchises.

Jussep’s last few sentences are something we all should remember; games are about fun. Not politics, agendas or ideologies. I agree with him that Legends 3 would have been fun to play, if the games using Lost Planet engine and its derivatives are anything to signify. However, playing Legends 3 on the 3DS may have been awkward, much like Monster Hunter without the Slide-Pad Pro.

In a perfect world, everybody would get what they want, but even in the game industry when it comes to the the customers the needs of the many out weight the needs of the few.

I admit; I know the lyrics of this song by heart, almost as well as Makenai Ai Ga Kitto Aru.