Impressions from Nintendo at E3 2012

I’m going to keep this brief for now, but I think there’s a lot to talk about from Nintendo’s showings this year; both because of what Nintendo revealed and what Nintendo did not reveal. Nintendo held two separate conferences this year (one for WiiU and a second for Nintendo 3DS) and my first reaction to both was disappointment. I am disappointed that the games I most wanted to see are not at the show, and Nintendo made some strange decisions of which games to feature at their events. Some of the most exciting and interesting game announcements have been made after the press conferences through interviews. Specifically, I felt that Project P-100 for WiiU and Fire Emblem: Awakening for Nintendo 3DS should have been featured at the press events.

However, once the dust settled, my reaction to Nintendo’s game lineup changed for the better. I’m not extremely excited about what was shown this year, but I am satisfied. I’m satisfied with the WiiU’s launch lineup and the capabilities of the platform itself. I am satisfied with the holiday lineup for Nintendo 3DS as well, but I am still not convinced that I need to rush out and buy one.

In particular, I am very pleased to see Pikmin 3 finally revealed. I have never been a huge fan of the original games, but the announcement has renewed by interest in the series enough that I plan to play through Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2 soon.

The other highlight of Nintendo’s lineup is Nintendo Land. When the game was first announced, I was not interested and simply wished that Nintendo had devoted that stage time to something focused more on “core gamers”; something like The Legend of Zelda. However, when I saw the games being played and began reading impressions from people playing the demos my interest grew. For the first time, I am excited about a mini-game collection being released and, as long as Nintendo doesn’t choose to sell the game separately for $50, I plan to purchase it.

Impressions from Microsoft and Sony at E3 2012

Today, both Microsoft and Sony held their annual E3 press conferences, but both were underwhelming. While I had hoped that Microsoft might focus on games and announce a few new games, instead they announced no new major releases and focused almost exclusively on expanding the media features of the XBOX 360. I love that my XBOX 360 is capable of doing all of these things, but I use my XBOX 360 for games first and foremost and right now there is a severe lack of titles that interest me.

I expected a much better presentation from Sony, and they certainly did a much better job of focusing on games, but their conference suffered from a lack of new announcements. With the exception of Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls,  Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, and Wonderbook everything that was shown had already been previously announced.

Despite their lackluster press conferences, there were a few noteworthy games. While none of them are really my taste, Halo 4, God of War: Ascension, and The Last of Us are all sure to be hits when they are released. The demo for The Last of Us was particularly impressive. I was also glad to see more of Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale, but I’m still not entirely sure how the gameplay works. I’m hoping to see more footage from the game during the rest of the week.

However, the real highlight today was Assassin’s Creed 3. Ubisoft demoed the game at their own press conference and again at Sony’s press conference. Both demos looked great and for the first time I am actually excited about an Assassin’s Creed title. Ubisoft truly stole the show today with Assassin’s Creed 3; it’s looking to be one of the best games of the year.

My first impressions of Xenoblade

I picked up my copy of Xenoblade yesterday, and I have played about eight hours of the game so far. I’ve been very impressed with Xenoblade so far; the game was definitely worth all the effort to have it localized.

It didn’t take long for Xenoblade to remind me of World of Warcraft. The huge world, battle system, and quests are all reminiscent of an MMO. I’m a little surprised at how well the-MMO inspired elements work in this single player game.

The battle system has definitely been the highlight of my experience so far, and I was impressed at how quickly the story is paced. The music is also noteworthy; Xenoblade’s soundtrack is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

The only negative comment I have is about the graphics, and this problem has already been highlighted in countless reviews. The environments are massive and gorgeous from a distance, but up close the visuals (especially the character models) are noticeably outdated. Unfortunately that means the graphical problems are most noticeable during the cut-scenes. Regardless, the graphics are a minor complaint; Xenoblade is extremely fun and quickly pulls you in.

New Content: Ogre Battle 64

Since I began writing on this website almost one year ago, I had hoped that eventually I could focus some of my writing on specific games. I tried this early on with some games, but I quickly postponed those plans and focused entirely on writing articles and reviews on a variety of topics.

I have decided that the time has come to focus some of my efforts on a specific game: Ogre Battle 64. I chose Ogre Battle 64 not only because it is among my favorite games, but also because detailed information about the game is scarce.  Ogre Battle 64 contains some complex mechanics that aren’t explained in the game.

Truth be told, I have been planning to begin writing guides for Ogre Battle 64 for at least six years. Each time I began, other projects have taken priority. I am glad to finally have the project off the ground as a part of Video Game Insight.

There is only one detailed guide completed at this time, but I will be writing updates on a regular basis along with my other articles and reviews.

Mobile Gaming: A legitimate alternative

This week, I upgraded to an iPhone – my first phone that isn’t just a phone. I have played with iOS devices in the past (specifically an iPod Touch), but never took the time to really look at the type of games that were available.

My masterpiece.

I knew that Square Enix had begun releasing games for iOS, but I had no idea how many, and I was surprised to see some other developers from the console-scene. I haven’t spent the money to buy any of the Square Enix games yet (they are considerably more expensive than most other iOS games), but I expect that I will eventually. I may have beaten Chrono Trigger countless times, but I imagine that I won’t be able to keep it off my phone forever.

So far, I’ve only spent a few dollars on some simple, but well-known, games. I’ve also downloaded a few free games. Draw Something has taken up more time than I ever expected, and I am also enjoying Jetpack Joyride. I expect to be spending more and more time playing games on my phone – this week alone has already taken hours of time away from my Nintendo DSi.

I don’t expect any touchscreen-only device to ever replace a more traditional handheld gaming system, but, for the first time, I consider them to be a legitimate alternative. If nothing else, these mobile games are fun, and that’s what gaming is all about anyway. Continue reading