Iwata: Bringing people online on Wii/NDS was a bitter learning experience

October 9, 2010

In a news-article on Siliconera, head of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, talked about the stronger focus on online-features regarding the upcoming Nintendo 3DS-handheld. He called it a bitter learning experience to get people online with Wii and Nintendo DS. It is still in the dark if 3DS will feature any (strongly) improved online-capabilities, since Iwata focuses talk on 3DS´s wlan-features, called SpotPass and Tag-Mode, that exist to use set up hotspots to connect to the internet. Something that might work for Japan, hardly for the USA, and definitely not for Europe.

However, people are criticizing Nintendo´s online approach as whole for a long time now. It has to be said that Nintendo most likely doesn´t have “crappy online” just for fun. Biggest evidence of that is the warning-screen that pops up every time you start your Wii or NDS. Not using any different technology in terms of “being dangerous”, it is only Nintendo that “has to” use these warnings. That, in combination with the emphasis on friends code, should make clear that Nintendo actually fully addresses to any kind of danger that could come from using their systems. It might be a hassle for adult gamers to be have no choice of being protected by these decisions, but it can´t be argued that it works. Anyone who has ever used Xbox Live and voice-chat knows what a more open system brings alongside.

The other reason is that Nintendo is Nintendo. Instead of giving gamers the obvious, they´re looking for something unique. There was an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto many years ago where he was asked about online-gaming (I think it was before the GameCube´s launch), and his answer was basically: If we cannot create new kinds of games by using the internet, we have no interest in that. We don´t want to simply put our existing games online without any innovations.” So, while online-multiplayer is vital to a lot of enthusiast gamers, it surely isn´t anything special or unique. I´ve wondered myself what new game-genres could be made, besides online-multiplayer and mmorpgs. Seems that Nintendo hasn´t come up with an answer, either, yet.


New Famitsu-scans of Earth Seeker

September 9, 2010

Wow, this game looks like a winner. As you can see in the scans below, Earth Seeker for Wii seems to go for a rich atmosphere, set in a uniquely designed alien world. The screenshots show some combat-action as well as strange locations. What´s kind of saddening is that this is yet another great-looking RPG for Wii that we have to put on the “ugh, hopefully it´ll be released over here“-list, next to Xenoblade and The Last Story.

Hard to Master – A Monster Hunter Tri-Report

September 7, 2010

I didn´t have to play the chance to play Monster Hunter Tri that much, so it´s only now that I can finally deliver on another “status-update”. Remember when in my last report I said I played the game for 120 hours? Well, make that well over 160 hours now. Personally, it´s hard to imagine that there´ll ever be another game that I´m going to play as much. Well, maybe another Monster Hunter-game, haha. 160 hours…if I take the previous longest game I´ve played, that is more than three complete runs of Skies of Arcadia Legends, which took me about 53 hours on my first attempt. And to make sure: 160 fun hours, no boring grinding or whatever one would like to imagine when seeing that big number. A number that´s nothing compared to real master hunters.

My next prey was supposed to be the devilish, nasty monster Deviljho, and I have to admit that I haven´t beaten him, yet. Only got to try him once as part of an event-quest, and just when my group was close to getting him, another group member died and thus auto-aborted the mission. But that wasn´t anything to be angry about, since I actually didn´t think we´d do that well on my first ever Deviljho. Will get him next time.

Due to annoying connection problems (error code 11669, sometimes it works, sometimes not), I was forced to focus on the offline-part of the game. And yeah, I finally beat every monster by myself. Finally got to see one of the last two remaining new monsters, Ceadeus, which was surprisingly easy. I ran out of time the first time, because I didn´t find out fast enough what to do in the final area, but the game lets you start your next try in this final area, no need to replay the first part again. And neither does Ceadeus attack much, nor do his attacks a lot of damage. Made him flee after several hits with the installed weapons – next time I´ll go kill him.

As for the online part, I´m Hunter Rank 44 now. That means I´m close to getting access to the final batch of missions, which also means, closer to a real “Kill Deviljho”-mission. Moreover, it means I´ll be seeing Alatreon soon, the final unknown monster. I know its name from other players´ armor-names, but haven´t seen it, yet. Really excited to get to see this final boss-monster. However, playing the high level-missions made me realize that I still have a long way to go. Just yesterday I fought a Diablos together with other hunters, and just then did I figure that I would have to learn how and when to use my shield. Neither is it always wise to use it, nor is it wise to run from an attack that most likely will hit me. So it is the shield that I will try and learn more about. In terms of weapons, I love my Almighty Dahaka, which is great for paralyzing enemies. What kind of sucks is my current armor, which has to be built from the ground once you reach “+”-levels. But except for the super annoying Diablos, I´m doing fine with my weak armor. I´m a hit and run-fighter after all. Which might change, should I be successful to learn the usage of my shield.

So what am I going to do from here on out? I might have the title of an Elite Hunter, but I don´t feel like calling me that. There´s still la long way to go before I can do that rightfully. Reaching higher HRs, slowly improving my armor and finally slashing Deviljho, that is what I will have done before writing another Monster Hunter Tri-report. And maybe I´ll have seen Alatreon at that point, but who knows. The hunt is still in process…

Earth Seeker – The next big adventure?

July 30, 2010

Earth Seeker was first announced several weeks ago. It´s supposed to be some kind of Wii-exclusive action-adventure game, though even that might be too much speculation. Little is known about the overall structure of the game. However, thanks to the latest issue of Famitsu, we got some more details about Earth Seeker – as well as a really nice looking scan, showing many ingame-screenshots.

The game is developed by Crafts & Meisters, a studio founded by former Capcom-talents, including Noritaka Funamizu, who worked on the original Monster Hunter-game for PlayStation 2. And indeed, the game seems to share a bit of the monster-hunting franchise. The player takes control over a so-called Earthnoid, who looks like a human being, but seemingly isn´t one. The exact differences are yet unknown. If the scan is any indication, the main character will also be a girl. The story goes as follows: A thousand years ago, a space ship crashed onto that planet. This ship´s mission was to save information and artifacts of earth´s culture, implying that planet earth was somehow in danger. The ship crashed, however, and initiated production of its programmed information. The result are strange mixtures of animals and dead objects. One of the shown enemies, the Protopros, looks like a combination of a grasshopper and a rail-gun. Another monster, the Mamuma, is a mixture of a dragon and a light bulb. Not only enemies were produced by the ship´s computer, though, the player´s character was, too.

The exact structure of the game is not yet known, however, early information implies that some sort of open-ish world awaits us. Enemies are supposed to live in distinctive areas, and there´s also poison-filled air that causes damage when it is touched. The combat-system sounds rather special, too: Your character is accompanied by natives of the planet, so-called guardians. The guys are fighting for you, while you´re giving commands. That´s the “Time Stop Battle”-system. You can run around in real-time, lock-on the camera to the enemy, but when you press the A-button, the game freezes and you can choose from various commands, such as “Blade Rush” or “Air Strike”, but also more elemental stuff like “Thunder” or “Ice”. To add to the combat´s specialty, there´s a cartridge-meter at the bottom of the screen. The cartridges limit the number of your actions. From what is known, these cartridges either re-appear automatically after a certain amount of time, or by using items to replenish them. Maybe it works similar to Skies of Arcadia´s combat? Who knows. You can also choose attacks from different power levels, but the higher the level, the more cartridges it´ll consume. Said guardians seem to use energy balls to attack enemies. I guess I´m not the only one that remembers Opoona when hearing about that. But this is a pseudo-Capcom-title and not a Konami-game, so there shouldn´t be any real connections here.

The official website of Earth Seeker is available now, too, though not much can be seen there. For now, it´s just a bunch of silhouettes, probably some of the guardians you´ll meet in the game. With how little is known about the game´s basic concept, it´s hard to comment on Earth Seeker´s potential as a great game, but when you see the scan, the environments and, most importantly, the gorgeous art, you can´t help but hope that this turns out to be a charming, interesting adventure.

New JRPGs for Wii announced

January 31, 2010

Many hate it, some love it: Nintendo´s new announcement policy. There wasn´t any kind of special conference, yet Wii-gamers got two new titles to look forward to. Both of the are JRPGs, a genre that had been lacking on the Wii.

Both will be released in 2010, with Xenoblade making it as soon as this spring. Xenoblades is technically no new game, as it is the game formerly known as Monado: Beginning of the World. The Monolithsoft developed JRPG has only been shown in one trailer, presenting a game world that looked a lot like Final Fantasy 12. The new artwork shows two giants, one of them possibly being a battle mech, the other one looking more organic. It is unknown if the game uses any kind of motion controls or if it is completely classic.

The other announced JRPG is The Last Story, developed by Mistwalker that are known for their Blue Dragon-game. Hironobu Sakaguchi is working on it, with seemingly Nobuo Uematsu working on the soundtrack. Release date is some time in 2010 as well.

If you follow the links to these games´ official websites you can hear nice pieces of music. Really beautiful tracks, especially the Xenoblade one.

The Last Story – Official Website

Xenoblade – Official Website