Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Wonderful One

On the dawn of Platinum 10th Aniversary, let's talk about The Wonderful 101 which I just finished recently.

Even after getting the U, I was lukewarm about this game as it seems more 'viewtiful' than 'stylish hard action'. H.Kamiya has made many great games but it's his Devil May Cry style which appeals to me the most. Fortunately Club Nintendo rewarded me this game so I didn't have to make the choice of buying.

This is a hard game to describe, it has a realistic cartoon visual style but a less than friendly learning curve. The heroes looked like old-fashioned superheroes and they have a lot more personality than the average hero. This is probably H.Kamiya best writing work so far. I laughed a lot at the banter between the heroes because it's just so sharply written. The localisation team did a great job on this one, it reminded me of the Ace Attorney humour. Apparently S.Takumi from the Ace Attorney series is close friends with H.Kamiya during their Capcom days.

It's easy to say this now but this game was doomed for commercial failure and I don't think releasing it on a more popular system would have made a difference. Like most Japanese games, it gives you all the tools you need and expect you to learn everything on your own. At times, I feel like I need 4 extra mechanical arms from Doc Ock to play this. I struggled with when to block and when to dodge, apparently you need a bit of cartoon logic which I certainly lacked. 

Things eventually clicked and I started to enjoy it a bit more. There is certainly no other games out there like this. Some games try to be different for the sake of being different however this one feels genuinely unique. It's probably Platinum games best game so far and that is not an easy feat considering the competition. It's an amalgamation of everything H.Kamiya has done. There is a bit Okami (formation attack), a bit of Devil May Cry (Wonder-Blue) and a lot of Viewtiful Joe (Wonder-Red).

If you love video games, it's hard not to like The Wonderful 101 at all. Well unless you are some kid who grew up on mobile games that requires only one finger to play and minimum amount of attention.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nickel and Dime

After all that good feelings, it's time to talk about the ugly side of the game business. Unfortunately Capcom is once again the guilty party.

When Capcom started to unveiled the new bonus costumes for RE0 remaster, I was getting a little suspicious of how much effort they are putting in. After all, they basically phoned-in the new bonus costumes for the earlier RE remaster though that was understandable being their first major HD remaster title. For RE0, there was a major t-shirt contest where fans can submit their own design. Then there are the throwback costumes to the previous RE games. Unfortunately Capcom have decided to charge the new RE0 bonus costume as DLC.

This is a classic example of publisher witholding content to nick an extra dime from consumers. After all the game is already more than 10 years old and any new content should be deemed part of the remastering packaging. But looks like the basic $20 is just enough to cover their remastering fee and you need to pony up an additional $10 for the new costumes.

To be honest, the new costumes are a nice throwback to the series history.  I wasn't so fond of the fan design T-shirt idea as it seem out of place in this game. But the costumes from the past RE games got me nostalgic of the series. It's just too bad that's probably all we are getting for this year's 20th anniversary of RE.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Good Will Funding

Publishers seems to recognise the importance of good will among the consumer these days.

Take Yakuza 5 for example, when Sega announced the localisation of this 3-year old game, fans lamented that they were basically sending the game out to fail without a retail release. It was only months later when the game is about to release that the full picture is revealed. Sega never had high hopes for Yakuza 5 given the circumstances of the timing, it's Yakuza 0 that they are pinning their hopes on.

But in order to ensure that they don't alienate fans and leave a bad impression before 0, Sega knew they had to give Yakuza 5 a localization even if it means losing money. Now Yakuza 0 takes centre stage and will get a proper retail release on Sony's thriving PS4 console. It's in a good position to succeed unlike Yakuza 5. The announcement of Zero on the eve of Yakuza 5 release hopefully created more good will for fans to believe again.

Another prime example would be Zelda Wii U. With the NX announcement looming this year, many believe Nintendo will jump ship and release the new Zelda on the NX instead. They might very well do so but probably not at the cost of forsaking the original Wii U version. Sure, Nintendo has no legal obligation to do so and would only be breaking their word if they do. But Nintendo can't afford to lose anymore good will at this point especially when they are hoping this very same customer base will buy their new NX.

Releasing the Zelda Wii U is probably a losing business for Nintendo just like releasing Yakuza 5 is for Sega/Sony. It's only the big picture that is making these losses worthwhile as any clever businessman will recognise. Sometime you need to lose a little first in order to win later. Or sometimes, it's not about losing but maintaining the relationship that matters here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 recap: Wii U

I was lucky enough to pick up the white Wii U seeing how obscure the console has become. This was my first full year of owning the Wii U so I was happy there were many quality games already available. I do hope there are more coming. That being said, I bought the system based on what I already knew what was coming to the console so my expectations are somewhat met.

Buying the Wii U wasn't as easy a decision as some of my past systems.I knew the shaky situation

I finished quite a number of Wii U games this year and have more to go next year.

1. Bayonetta 2
2. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
3. Captain Toad
4. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
5. Super Mario Maker
6. Bayonetta

Ok I cheated a little with Bayonetta.

Friday, December 25, 2015

2105 recap: Nintendo Wii

It's doesn't take a whole lot to be a Top 10 most played Wii game on my system. Lol

I didn't finish many Wii games this year but the quality more than makes up for it's quantity.

1. The Twillight Princess
2. Metroid Prime
3. Bully Scholarship Edition

The Twillight Princess is such a massive Zelda experience that I didn't expect to take that long to finish. I really should have started this game a few years ago as now I still have Skyward Sword to finish before the new Zelda on Wii U. That's a nice first world problem to have.

It's been years since I picked up the Metroid Prime Trilogy and yet here I am finishing just the first Metroid Prime. I hope I don't take this long to finish the other two Prime games left. Then again, it's going to be a while before we see the next console Metroid game anyways.

It dawned on me that all 3 of these games are enhanced ports of older games from two generations ago. This will change next year as I actively complete the remaining Wii games on my backlog.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 recap: PS3

It's nice that Sony knows how big of a deal earning trophies is from this email. I have played quite a number of great PS3 games in 2015,

1. Grand Theft Auto IV
2. The Evil Within
3. Resident Evil Revelations 2
4. Grand Theft Auto V
5. Yakuza Zero

Almost all of these games are available cross-gen but I made peace with getting the older versions. Some I could see myself upgrading to the current gen version when an enhanced version is available. I'm talking about Yakuza Zero in english and The Evil Within with all the DLC content. I probably won't waste anymore money on Revelations 2,  the game is just not worth the money or time anymore.

I would love to try all the new online features Rockstar added to GTA Online with the current gen but too bad Rockstar don't intend to sell GTA Online separately.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Cheers to you. Yes, you. You, the fan. The one who's unlocked achievements, won trophies, and leveled up. Thanks for making 2015 an epic year we'll never forget. Happy Holidays, and here's to another year of greatness. Sincerely, PlayStation Team

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 recap: Nintendo 3DS

It's a shame that I played 2 very time-consuming games on the 3DS in the same year. That meant I didn't have enough time to play the many other games that I bought for the system. And trust me, there are a lot of games on my backlog.

Project X Zone and MH4U are games that required a lot of dedication but present very little reward. PXZ felt like it could be a 40 hours game if Monolith Soft had cut back on having to fight the same boss over and over again. MH4U? I can't really complain much expect that this is a grind it out game. Always have been, if you can't stand the grinding then maybe this isn't for you.

Just glad to be done with PXZ because now I'm free to play all the other games I got.