Friday, June 18, 2010

Slight redesign

As you can see, there's been a bit of a visual change. I thought that my previous column sizes were far too small so I made them much, much larger. I'll also be adding some more banners around the place and getting some links going (hopefully) to make the post easier to find and navigate. Give me your opinion on what the site looks like now (especially if it scrolls sideways, I don't wish that upon anyone) so I can improve it some more. It's all a work in progress.

On the review front, I'm currently slogging through Heroes of Might and Magic V (and enjoying it) and Overlord. I've also got quite a few animes and mangas that I can conjure to review. First however comes a lot of band practice, so you won't be seeing these reviews until Monday at the earliest.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My opinions on Nintendo at E3 (with trailers)

This is just a quick show of my opinion on the Nintendo E3 conference. It’s very opinionated so feel free to disagree with everything I say (:

Ok, for the most part, I’m hating the way Nintendo are taking the Wii in terms of art design. By far my largest gripe is with the new Zelda game. While the controls look unintuitive (I'm willing to give that it may be decent), Skyward Sword has the most hideous art of any game I've ever seen. Why they would choose to make a blend of Wind Waker (WW) and Twilight Princess (TP) I will never know. WW was the most beautiful game on the GC. It had such a brilliant charm to it and everything was a perfect fit for the cel shading style. TP is the most beautiful game on the Wii to date. It pushes the Wii's hardware to its limit and gives a sense of realism (aside from all that bloom). Skyward Sword (horrible name by the way) fuses the scenery of WW and the characters of TP which just makes for an extremely jarring composition. The background seems to simple compared to the characters, like they've just not bothered to make good textures, while the characters look like they've just been dumbed down from TP, given brighter palettes and simplified textures, but they still want to seem realistic. The contrast just leaves you wondering why the hell your semi realistic link is running around in an animes.

They then use this same sort of simplified style in Metroid Other M. Why they didn't just use the Metroid Prime 3: Corruption’s (MP3:C) engine again I won't know. That's probably the best looking sci-fi game on the Wii. Other M Samus looks over the top (more so than normal) but with such simple textures and shading that it's just painful to look at. They've also simplified the scenery down, leaving it looking somewhat barren compared to MP3:C. At least they can't screw up the controls since they can just work of MP3:C which has the best controls of any FPS on the Wii. Seriously, if they change them they're the stupidest company ever.

Now Kirby...I'm really, really excited to get a chance to play this. The game mechanics look great, but one again the art style is just horrible. See through characters rarely make for good gameplay. Whenever second player was on the screen I had a lot of trouble seeing his character and it generally makes it a lot harder to tell what's going on. It seems a lot like a simplified Paper Mario but with less good.

I'm sort of concerned for Donkey Kong Country Returns as the general consensus is that platforming with the wiimote is kind of crap. I honestly think that putting it on the 3DS may have been a better decision. However, it's on the Wii so nothing we can do. The art style looks very similar to Super Mario Galaxy but a tad simplier (I think I'm seeing a trend here), but it definitely works well with the game. This is probably my most anticipated Wii title that was announced if nostalgia doesn't factor into the decision.

Now, for the best news anyone has ever heard ever. GoldenEye on the wii. This will be so reliant on the controls being good that it's just sad. Their best bet (and what I hope they do) is take a page from MP3:C and use a control scheme similar to that. If they go the way of Red Steel millions of N64 veterans will cry out in pain. I would also like to see Classic Controller support so you can get a proper console FPS experience, but I doubt that will happen. Sure, the graphics look pretty horrible, even for a Wii game, but there’ll finally be a good FPS on the Wii that has great multiplayer support.

Now onto the beast that will be the 3DS. I think this is Nintendo's masterpiece so far. The thing looks absolutely amazing. I don't normally buy consoles or handhelds close to launch date, normally waiting a year or so, but this thing looks so worth getting a pre-order that it just hurts my wallet. The game list is impressive beyond all belief, rivalling my love for PS2 diversity.

The games/franchises I'm most looking forward to are: Resident Evil, Contra, Bomberman, MGS, Super Robot, Kid Icarus, Mario Kart (so long as they go back to the N64 roots and not the Wii version), Pilot Wings, Star Fox (Lylatt Wars, god yes), FF, KH.

Now, I'm not sure how many of these games will actually benefit from 3D, but the fact that the graphical outcome will be on par with the PS2 at least (judging by the Kid Icarus trailer) is impressive enough on its own. The controls are interesting, and it seems that Nintendo are taking a page out of Sony’s book and adding both a joystick and movie playability to the 3DS. Both are very welcome features and even if the movies won’t be very important, the joystick is a move in the right direction for getting more serious games onto the Nintendo handhelds.

I feel that Nintendo may be running out of fresh ideas and that's why they're rebooting so many of their franchises, but I'm not one to complain about classics coming back. I'm just sad to see the poor art direction on the Wii compared to the sheer magnitude of the power in the 3DS and what they're bound to do well with it. I feel that Nintendo are gearing their art direction more towards a casual market with the simplified graphics of the new games, but leaving the gamers who are most interested in these new titles in obscurity by taking away the rich detail that they're used to from the games. Overall, Nintendo have had by far the best conference of E3 and will probably have the best response from all their new software and hardware.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Not yet dead, Animelol, and update status

Ok, so, this blog may seem dead. It's not. Really, I swear! Uni has gotten the better of me and non-essential activities got put on the backburner, this is one of those things.

I've been slowly putting together more Animelol discussions with Tom Clift of Plus Trailers and posting them on youtube. The entire playlist can be found here, and more should be coming in the next few weeks after both Tom and I finish exams and can watch more anime together.

On that note, after exams I should start getting some more reviews up and even trying to build a backlog so I can post while I'm actually doing uni work without too much hassle. Don't expect wonders from me, but I will be trying for one update a week at least. Don't expect any book or music reviews for a long time though, they take too long to go through the material meaningfully and write the review. I may post some impressions of things though, mostly music. Just advising some bands that I think are worth checking out. Game reviews and anime reviews are the most likely things to come since I have huge backlogs of them to watch or play, and write about.

Anyway, the short of it is that this blog is still alive and will start updating again soon.