Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wii-U Stop Tempting Me: Rayman Legends.





I got Rayman Origins (PS3) as an Xmas gift last year. I went in with relatively low expectations, figuring it little more than a cutesy retro-vival cash-in on the resurgent 2D platformer. A good game, but nothing too demanding. What I got, however, was a precise, brilliant marriage of old and new-school gaming, with its shunning of needless design elements such as lives and continues, but never once compromising on the difficulty, merely letting you restart from where you'd messed up, and it was mostly likely that you messed up, considering the near-flawlessness of the game's presentation and design.



I loved it so much, it joined Donkey Kong Country Returns as one of the few games I've 100%-ed over the last year, and felt like some sort of d-pad deity when I finally did so, navigating the diabolical after-life that was The Land of the Livid Dead. And then, the sinking sensation set in, that it was, in fact, truly over. Understandably, I wanted more. I mean, who wouldn't? So, you can imagine how elated I was to hear its sequel was well on its way, and would be due around early 2013. It looked like the perfect follow-up. In fact, seemingly one of the few instances where more-of-the-same isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just needed more of its lush gameplay and awesome difficulty-curves. Granted, when it was debuted and previewed at E3 this year, it was touted was a Wii-U exclusive, but surely that was just for the sake of a tech-demo, right? Something this gorgeous can't be kept all for one system, can it?


Yep, still a Wii-U exclusive.

Nope, definitely a Wii-U exclusive.


                                                       

                                               'Bollocks!', said I. 

As if the carrot of Tank! Tank! Tank! getting a home-port for the Wii-U wasn't enough to irk me. Now, my resolute 'No!, waiting a year 'til its library has filled out a bit' has turned to altogether more dangerous 'hmm, well......'. This may not end well. The only thing sorrier than an unjustifiable want is a barely-justified acquisition. Or, well, that's what I'm telling myself, as I rock back and forth, awaiting news of it going multi-platform. I'm sure it just may yet, but that's of limited comfort, considering it'd mostly likely be a good few months off the game's original release, if not longer. Yeah, I think I'm a marketing department's dream. 




Mind you,  Rayman Origins sold short of Ubisoft's hopes, despite availability across multiple platforms. However critically-acclaimed and brilliant Origins was, you'd have to question the wisdom of following it up with a platform-exclusive, which could only serve to negate a lot of the goodwill built-in from Origins, and do the franchise no favours in the long-run. Which is exactly what it doesn't need, I feel. This series really needs to contintue. I dunno, perhaps Ubisoft know something about the Wii-U we're just not privvy to yet. Too optimistic? 



Edit, Feb 7th 2013: Huzzah! It's going multiplatform. Unfortunately, as a result, its release has been pushed back to September. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

An Unjustifiable Want: Mother 3 GBA Micro

Even with the quickest perusal of my site, you'll have probably noticed I'm a bit of a Mother/Earthbound nut. I can contently spend hours trawling the likes of Earthbound Central and Starmen.net for the most minor of news and details, or just wallowing in the fact someone else is still talking about the series regularly.
Indeed, you can imagine the shriek I let when I discovered this gorgeous bit of hardware designed to commemorate the 2006 release of the much-anticipated Mother 3.






Sadly, much like the game it commemorates, it was Japan-only. It wasn't produced in the highest quantities either, so it demands a steep investment whenever it does rear its beautiful head on auction sites (around €400 , at last check). Pair that with that fact that I've already have my GBA needs well covered with the SP, and this gorgeous bit of hardware gets tipped right into unjustifiable investment territory. Bollocks! Oh well, someday, I hope. Until then, I shall content myself staring at the below picture, clocking reasons why it might be perfectly valid investment in a future,  where fanboyism overrules sense.  





Pictures shamelessly pilfered from Giantbomb and Yazsi. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tank! Tank! Tank! Thank Wii-U! (Maybe...)


Seemingly lost amid the furor of the impending Wii-U launch is the fact that Namco's spiritual successor to 1995's much-lauded Tokyo Wars, Tank! Tank! Tank! is making the leap from arcade-novelty to console-gaming this Winter, courtesy of Nintendo's latest hardware. Released in 2009, it popped up in my nearest proper arcade sometime in the last couple of years, and I've treated it with due love since, due to its big, chunky cab and the brilliantly chaotic four-player action, that asks nothing more of you than to control your tank and blow your nearest-and-dearest to smithereens, or, if you're not that way inclined, team up and face waves of mechanical bugs and beasties.



Granted, not the deepest of premises, but for balls-out mad fun, it cannot be faulted. Hell, it's even a good one in single-player, but admittedly, much of its appeal belongs in its multi-player. This is where I start to worry slightly about its port to Wii-U, and the lack of an online multi-player announcement so far. I mean, I know how much more fun it is to steamroll through your mates locally, if you can pardon the expression, but if it's a game that's to get any serious play among the masses, I don't see local-only being feasible in the long-term. It's very much a game best enjoyed in short-bursts and in company, but having to wait 'til you've got three other mates lined up for session is liable to drain whatever appeal it may have. I'm usually the last to cry 'online! online!', but in an age where it's needlessly tacked on to AAA games that gain nothing from it, I can't see the harm in sticking one on here too, for a potential sleeper of a hit.



Regardless, it's a brilliant title, even without life-extending online, and Wii-U version looks to be a faithful port. So, if you've never been privvy to playing Tank! Tank! Tank! in its native grounds, have a fitting and willing social circle, and are investing in the Wii-U come November's end, I imagine it'll be worth a few laughs.




Tank! Tank! Tank! is released on November 30th.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Playlist #3



Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World (GBA):


Following on from the curbing of the loose 'no replay' rule mentioned in the Sonic CD post, I've also been known to completely abolish it in favour of a quick, easy and familiar ride. Super Mario World is a game I've exhausted over the years, like many I'd imagine.


There's very little to add to the collective conversation that SMW has been subject of for many years. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the GBA port, despite the compromises placed upon it during the transition from SNES to portable screen, such as the resolution of the handheld not doing the vibrancy of the original any favours, and the downgraded sound. Granted, these factors are rarely dealbreakers for me in a game, but when we're talking about something as gargantuan in terms of influence as SMW, it's easy to raise the ire of the prototypical, nostaliga-drunk fanboy like me. 


But no, and the added pick-up-and-playability of being on the GBA was a joyous revelation. It was a welcome companion on tedious commutes. Mind, I found it curious as to how easy it felt compared to SNES original, considering Mario can now take an extra hit once powered-up fully, instead of reverting to Mini-Mario straightaway like its SNES originator. Even with that, it adds to the game's sense of immediate fun, never demanding too much, and seemingly rejigged for short bursts that favours portable-gaming. You can dust off the whole thing in around 3-4 hours, depending on how swift you take to the Special World.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Sonic CD (PSN)


In what's become an ongoing theme this year, I've been somewhat curbing my loose 'no replay' policy, I took another punt at a game that's been subject to much derision on my part, Sonic CD. I've been known to scoff whenever I read or hear it brought up as some semi-lost gem amid Sonic's golden-age, doomed to a relative nicheness due to the fate of its native Sega-CD. It's really not, and I forward that point having softened my opinion on it a little. It reappeared on the PlayStation Network quite cheaply last year, and with Sony adding a Paypal option to their store recently, I felt it was time I'd make certain my opinion on it. Well, either that or I'm in the middle of a Sonic marathon, whatever.

It's an okay game, it really is, but I've labelled something closer to a fan-hack in the past, and I'd stand by that mostly, for reasons clear momentarily. I was told before ever playing it that its emphasis on exploration, as opposed to the trademark speed of the series, adds a depth not present in previous entries. Where you'd have to search for a generator to destroy, in order to yield a good future, and receive the game's 'good' ending. The 'good' being open to interpretation, as in this case, all it does is modify the last two seconds of closing cut-scene. This being subject of passing posts that let you access a level's past or future, respectively, and destroying a generator. This, I was told, added more depth, but changes between time-zones of an area seem to be minimal, if not mostly scenic.