Oh, Pokémon – Gamefreak’s little franchise that just keeps chugging along. For a while, there were some issues. They didn’t really use the full power of the handheld systems; it was too much of a grind; and the games all felt way too similar. Fortunately, those working on the series have slowly changed the latter. The addition of a few things here and there makes it feel like Pokémon is finally moving forward; that’s Omega Ruby. While it’s a remake of the 2002 title, it holds within the summation of every small addition from the past, and it is accompanied by some good old-fashioned nostalgia.
Playing Level-5’s Fantasy Life for the Nintendo 3DS (co-developed by Brownie Brown and h.a.n.d.) is like participating in a living, breathing version of a storybook tale – with a role-playing twist. Sure, in many tales the focus of the plot is on a valiant knight or a courageous sorceress – but what about those who provide the food by fishing? What about those who mine the ore, or collect the wood from the forests? Fantasy Life let’s you find the heroic in the everyday – by allowing you to take on one of twelve different ways of life. If you have a lot of patience and flexibility, you will enjoy this game. However, if you are looking for a cohesive experience, this might not be the title you’re looking for.
The holidays are well and truly upon us as game after game is released in the face of the upcoming winter months, where we can all stay in and play games without feeling too guilty. It is a busy time of the year, with many a gaming event taking place in many parts of the city. Last week, tucked away in a mysterious location in Toronto, Nintendo held their holiday media preview event in which they showed off some of their latest and upcoming games. Thankfully, I speak Mushroom language, so I was able to ascertain the location of the event and infiltrate to give you my impressions of what I saw. As usual, Nintendo did not disappoint!
People really love a good team-up. It’s not hard to see why; the idea of something being greater than the sum of its parts is very compelling – especially when the components are amazing. We have seen it before, with games like Street Fighter vs. Capcom, or the Super Smash Bros. franchise – and it works. I have often wondered what it would be like for Professor Layton and Luke Triton to meet other videogame characters on one of their adventures. Would it work? Well, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Level-5 and Capcom) answers that question, in a Nintendo 3DS game that has the most FPS out of any game ever made. And by FPS I mean Finger Pointing Sequences, of course.
For all of the experiences that my 3DS has brought me over the past three years, none of them have made me think “console quality”. This isn’t a negative – I consider my 3DS as a system for portable experiences, and I appreciate how smartly key franchises were shrunk down and adapted for on-the-go play. But after sinking a few dozen hours into Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, I’m realizing that it’s every bit as satisfying as its console forebears.
Like an octopus, LEGO has many franchise arms – one of them being their own Ninjago series – and there is usually a corresponding videogame series for each of these arms. Traveller’s Tales and Hellbent Games have put their noggins together to create a next-gen hand-held entry called LEGO Ninjago: Nindroids – a puzzly-platformy-bricky entity. So, is it a good game? Is it good enough to stand on its own amidst a sea of LEGO games? The answer is a mixed bag – depending on how much of a fan you are of either LEGO, Ninjago, or both.
This past E3 saw each of the “big three” firing on all six cylinders to impress upon gamers that the best is yet to come; but Nintendo’s showing was particularly successful at changing the Wii U’s prognosis from more cynical gamers (enough that a poll of IGN’s readers showed the majority rated Nintendo as “winning E3″).
Nintendo recently invited Toronto Thumbs and other Canadian outlets to a post-E3 demo session, where multiple kiosks were available to showcase the big hitters coming this holiday season and beyond for Wii U and 3DS.