Saturday, July 19, 2008

Angry Video Game Nerd - E3 Wrap-up

NPD - Top Twenty

Quite interesting to see GTA IV drop off so quickly. Also it's important to note that three of the seven Wii games on the list are from third parties. Not bad at all. Sort of doesn't support that "third parties don't sell on Wii" meme.

Nintendo Power's Exclusive - Sonic and the Black Knight

That's not Kingdom Hearts 3, is it? What is going on here?

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Best of the Best - E3 2008

Well, E3 2008 is over for better or worse, so I figured I'd take this opportunity to list my favorite games from the show for the Wii, 360, PS3, and DS. Sadly, there was next to nothing that interested me for the PSP which is a shame since I love that platform. Let's get started, shall we?

-Nintendo Wii-

Wii Sports Resort

Animal Crossing: City Folk

Mad World

The Conduit

de Blob

-Xbox 360-

Gears of War 2

Final Fantasy XIII

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

Saints Row 2

-Playstation 3-

Resident Evil 5

Resistance 2

Little Big Planet


Mirror's Edge

-Nintendo DS-

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

Kirby Super Star Ultra

GTA Chinatown Wars

Chrono Trigger DS

Final Fantasy IV

In Case You Missed It... Nintendo's Press Conference

Let's start the day off with a spoof, shall we?
It's from jarosh from NeoGAF.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

June NPD - Nintendo Wii overtakes Xbox 360 in America

PlayStation 3 405.5k
PSP 337.4k
Playstation 2 188.8k
Xbox 360 219.8k
Wii 666.7k
Nintendo DS 783k

01. PS3 METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUN OF THE PATRIOTS KONAMI 774.6K (Does not include bundles with PS3 hardware)

Best E3 Trailer or Best E3 Trailer Ever?

You be the judge! Four minutes of awesome! And look at that gameplay!

NHL 2K9 Wii Footage - Hat trick or high sticking?

Why am I continuing to post Wii news? I feel so sorry for it truthfully after Nintendo's abysmal performance this year. Hell, every press conference was actually boring for the most part-- Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Activision, EA, Capcom, Konami, etc.

NHL 2K9 looks rather pleasing for the Wii. It lacks online functionality, but for me it doesn't matter. I'm more of a social gamer. Chatting with people over the air is nowhere near as fun and satisfying as being able to heckle people right next to you. That's my personal preference anyway. I'm sure a lot of other people view it the other way.

Anyway, this video is off-screen footage with one of the developers telling us about what makes the Wii version worthy of mention. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Castlevania Judgment First Trailer

This is a pre-alpha build of the future Wii fighter, so it appears to be rough around the edges. I'm really hoping this turns out well, but at the same token I won't lose any sleep over it if it doesn't.

Dead Rising Confirmed for... Wii?

Famitsu never lies. The gaming world... what the hell is going on around here?
Interview snippets (from cvpfreak of NeoGAF)

- RE4 Wii sold well so Capcom is porting DR
- As much as possible Capcom will match the 360 look.
- Is taking into mind casual gamers' needs
- Playable w/ Wiimote and nunchuck. There are waggle atacks similar to RE4 Wii.
- New bosses, camera system, and weapons included.

Click image for full version.

And Click Here for more scans.

New Penny Arcade Sums Up E3 To A "T"

What can you really say about this really pitiful E3? Well, Penny Arcade has done a splendid job of doing it, so why not let them speak for me?

Click on image for full version.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sonic Unleashed - Werehog Trailer

What is this Sum 41 crap? Otherwise, it looks okay. I still doubt it will be good.

Now this. THIS is good!

Don't worry. The hedgehog is playing.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Realistically, all the big three's conferences were subdued. The only thing that really salvaged Microsoft's conference was the FFXIII announcement, Nintendo didn't bother to show much of anything for the core gamer, and Sony didn't really have anything to counter their loss of FFXII's exclusivity. The question is why. Well, to put it simply (and in my opinion), E3 is very much coming to an end. You can almost feel that there's really no motivation for any company to really reveal all their cards for the year like they could when E3 was as grandiose as it was two years back and prior.

I think Capcom's conference says it best. Folks like myself were hyping what games they'd show, a new RE 5 trailer, some info on Flock, maybe a surprise announcement, and what did we get? Well, a 35 minute conference about the Lost Planet movie. Yes, movie. I think that pretty much says it all.

Perhaps this NeoGAF summary (albeit humorous) is a bit on the money:

Otherwise, this E3 is certainly a major stinker. Here's looking forward to the Tokyo Game Show and other publisher-centric trade shows.

The day has been saved - Awesome Samba de Amigo News!

Okay, well, it hasn't really been salvaged totally as the Sony press conference, while very good, didn't have to much that I was interested in. Regardless, Gearbox Software's take on the Dreamcast favorite, Samba de Amigo, will be hitting the Wii this September with downloadable content and beautiful, colorful graphics. Just take a look and be entranced by Sonic the Hedgehog's jazz hands!

Nintendo's Showing at E3 - Disappointing is an Understatement

I wasn't expecting much at all this E3 from Nintendo. They've let me down many times in the past, and they didn't fail to do so this year. However, this year was just... not good at all.
Now I'm not going to give an idiotic knee-jerk reaction such as "OMG NIN10DO ABONDENED US!" or "I'm selling meh Wii nao!" or anything of that sort. I do understand that Nintendo no longer feels obligated to go after the hardcore market. After all, that was the market that basically abandoned them during the Gamecube generation save for Nintendo loyalists.

For the casual gamer, I imagine that Nintendo's E3 press conference was the best of the bunch. It offered a bunch of casual-friendly games that anyone can get into. As for the "core" gamer, there really wasn't much to offer. The only interesting pieces of information were Call of Duty 5 for the Wii and a GTA for the DS. Not exactly anything to light the world on fire.

Then you have the announcement of Animal Crossing: City Folk which looks embarrassing graphically, and it couldn't come off as anything but for casuals after the sales of Wild World. Yet Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amie stated that this was a core game to look forward to. Yeah... I think I liked it when Nintendo was losing better...

Additionally, a voice chat solution was mentioned albeit archaic.

Wii Speak. It's confusing because the mic is at the top of the television. Does this mean that it will pick up the noise of the television as well as noise around the room? Does this mean everyone in the room will be able to hear your conversations as if you were on speaker phone? To top it all off, this unit will retail for $29.99.

I thought this demo was interesting. It was the presentation of Wii Music. Looks like it could be enjoyable actually.

Now look at what they have to offer in the line of playable demos this week:

Wii Music
Wii Sports Resort
Animal Crossing: City Folk

Pokemon Ranger 2
Rhythm Heaven
Mystery Case Files

Yep. That's it. Makes it seem like Nintendo doesn't even take E3 seriously anymore.

Finally, here's a look at some Wii footage of various games at this E3. Enjoy.

Animal Crossing: City Folk

Call of Duty: World at War

Mad World

SimCity Creator

Wii Sports Resort

Well, there's always tomorrow to look forward to, right? ...Right? ...RIGHT?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mega Man 9 Interview with producer Hironobu Takeshita

Mega Man 9 is playable on the E3 show floor this year...but the floor's not quite open yet. Capcom teased us with a hint of the game, though, letting us talk to producer Hironobu Takeshita in front of a demo kiosk running the intro sequence on an endless loop. Once we were done soaking in the great Astro Boy-styled art, we got to business -- discussing the big picture behind the game's unconventional retro style as well as some gameplay specifics to tide us over until we have a chance to go hands-on with the demo once the show begins.

1UP: We haven't actually had a chance to play Mega Man 9 yet, so if you don't mind please tell us a little bit about the play style and what you were shooting for in going back to the NES style.

HT: Well, the classic Mega Man series has a lot of fans, and they're always asking "Can we have another?" We remember the old may think of them of them as simplistic, but they're challenging. When you beat it, you felt like you were rewarded for getting that far into the game. All of us at Capcom, including Mr. [series creator Keiji] Infaune, we've always had a special place in our hearts for these games and we've always wanted to continue the series in some form. When Virtual Console came along we felt the time was right. We decided that if we want to do this thing right, we should do it in the classic style. That meant going back to the NES period and bringing back those 8-bit graphics, sound, everything. That was the challenge we set for ourselves -- to see how much we could emulate our own style from way back when.

1UP: But why specifically go with the 8-bit style? Mega Man has had 16-bit and 32-bit sequels, and those games played pretty well. So why go back to a style that was popular in the '80s rather than something that's a little more timely?

HT: Well, when you put it like that...yes, it's an old-school style, like an old game. But it's a new addition to the series. As you probably know, Mega Man 2 is very popular -- the fans out there of the Mega Man series probably like that one best and have the fondest memories of it. So the challenge to us was to create a game that goes beyond MM2 to bring something new to the fans, something they really want. While the graphics are 8-bit, we like to think of 8-bit as just one possible art style we can employ to make a Mega Man game. We still think it looks good for the series.

1UP: Many of the gameplay innovations we saw in later Mega Man titles, like the slide and charge shot, being able to duck, have been removed from this game because you want to focus on the purity of the Mega Man 1 art and style?

HT: Yes, it's true that we don't have things like the slide or the charge shot, because we really want to bring it back to the basics -- simple is better in this case. The basics of Mega Man are moving, jumping and shooting. The challenge comes from the levels themselves. There's all these obstacles inside the levels that make playing Mega Man a fun adventure game. That's what we wanted to preserve when making this game.

1UP: I'm excited that the game is being created by IntiCreates, who made the Zero and ZX games. Those were actually very challenging games -- much harder than the classic games in my opinion -- but they really get what makes Mega Man good. Are they bringing some of the design concepts and innovations of the Zero and ZX games into MM9 to make it more contemporary and challenging?

HT: The staff at IntiCreates -- thanks for praising them -- most of them came from Capcom to begin with, so they've been involved with Mega Man in various forms from the classic series on out. They know what goes into making a Mega Man game, making it fun. This time with MM9 our goal was to go back to Mega Man 1 but to make it more polished. It will provide a challenge for modern gamers, even though it looks simple. You might be frustrated sometimes while playing it. If you keep trying, I'm sure you'll be able to beat the game.

1UP: Well, specifically what I had in mind is...I'm really looking forward to MM9 and have recently been replaying some of the older games. Something I've found is that in the NES games, the levels tend to be pretty short, and the bosses tend to have fairly simple patterns, especially compared to the Zero games where the levels tend to be longer and the bosses are extremely difficult. I'm wondering if MM9 will feel more like that -- more of an endurance contest than in the older games.

HT: It's definitely closer to the classic series in terms of gameplay. We wanted to create a fun game that's like the original series and challenges players, so everything from the boss fights to the stage lengths are similar to the original series.

1UP: Everything looks very classic except for one thing: Splash Woman! What's the story behind Splash Woman? Is Dr. Wily just lonely? How did this happen?

HT: Yes, as you can see, that is the first Something-Woman character in the Mega Man series. MM9 is like the classic series, but we wanted to add something new to surprise players, throw them off. I think you're going to find all the bosses are unique in their own way. Our priority with them has been to make new bosses for a new game and I think you'll enjoy them.

1UP: You've said you want to go back to Mega Man 2 for the inspiration for this game. What specifically about MM2 is it that you're trying to emulate this time? There is a certain purity to the game, especially compared to something like Mega Man 7, but I'm wondering how you've isolated those elements and brought them into MM9.

HT: Well, MM1 and 2 are what we want to want to use as the basis, because they're simple. You run, you jump, you shoot. With Mega Man 3 and beyond you had other elements like the charge shot, the slide, a lot of things that fans enjoyed. People do like those things, but MM2 has the most fans and we realized we wanted to keep it simple but make the levels challenging, and that's where the fun in this game would come from. So in that regard, we emulated MM2 to make this new game.

1UP: One thing I've noticed in replaying the MM games is that in some of the original games (1, 2, 3), you tend to use the Robot Master weapons a lot throughout the game whereas you don't do that so much in the later games. Is that something you've managed to recapture in this game? Will people try out the weapons and find that they're actually useful, instead of just relying on the arm cannon?

HT: Well, if you try really, really hard, you can probably make it through the whole game using none of the special weapons, but that would be tough. We've made it so that when you get the boss' weapons, they're incorporated into the game -- they allow you to defeat enemies quicker, access places you wouldn't otherwise be able to reach, basically getting you through stages quicker. So they are an integral part of the game -- if you want to use them, they're there for you.

1UP: Will it include special items like Item-1, the Rush Jet, the Super Arrow, or are you keeping it a purer experience?

HT: We've definitely brought back Rush, Beat and Eddy, and they'll help you get through the game. So fans of the series should enjoy having them back.

1UP: A few years ago, Capcom rebooted the series with Mega Man: Powered Up. People liked it a lot, but it didn't sell that well. Do you think you'll ever revisit that, or does MM9 spell doom for that take on Mega Man?

HT: We have to see where things go from here. It's hard to predict the future. First, we want to see how well MM9 does. If it succeeds, we'll definitely think about releasing more games in this series. But we also realize there are fans out there who like Powered Up, and if we hear more from them, we'll definitely have to think about putting more out.

1UP: Have you considered releasing Powered Up and Maverick Hunter X as downloadable content for, say, Xbox Live Arcade or PSN, to see how they do there?

HT: As it stands right now, nothing has been decided yet. 1UP: Will there be any differences in the three versions planned? (Wii, XBLA, PSN) Will the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions have achievements and trophies?

HT: That's a very good question! (laughs) The main thing with this game is that we didn't want there to be any differences between the various systems. We wanted people to experience an 8-bit game regardless of the system they own. As far as other things related to the systems, I don't want to say too much right now, but I'm sure you can imagine the kinds of things each respective system would have. But the game is the same on all three systems.

1UP: Now, if MM9 is a success, you said you'd consider making more games along these lines. Have you considered going back to some of the other MM series like Mega Man X or Legends and continuing those games in the styles they originally appeared in? Like, make a 16-bit style MMX or a Mega Man Legends with PlayStation-level technology?

HT: With each successive generation of home consoles, the graphics get better, the sound levels move up with surround sound and everything, and game makers try to create games that meet the specs of each console. I don't always agree with that, because you can play a game like this that doesn't have great graphics or the same superior sound and it's still a fun game to play. I think by just trying to meet the specifications of the new hardware, you're closing the door to creators like us. If we want to make a 16-bit game because we think it's good and fun, we will. If we want to make an 8-bit game, that's what we'll do. As long as the door remains open for game creators, it enriches the gaming world. You should think of the 8-bit graphics not as 8-bit graphics per se, but as a different art style. And this is just one of many art styles we can use to create a game. But if MM9 is successful, we will think about redoing older series -- 8-bit, 16-bit, what have you.

1UP: On the flip side, has it been difficult for you and the team at IntiCreates to go back to this simpler style? You're used to dealing with the DS, which is a fairly powerful system compared to the NES. Has it been hard to work within those constraints? Specifically, the sound in the trailer is so old-school -- were you used to making the graphics and sounds, or were the young programmers like, "How can we do this?"

HT: Well, the composer for MM9 did work really hard on this. He did work on NES games in the past, but now with modern sound and instruments and what you can do it wasn't the same, trying to limit himself. It takes a special skill set to be able to go back and work with less, and I think he achieved that with this game. As far as IntiCreates and making the game itself, we wanted it to be authentic like an NES game. That meant we couldn't rely on any of the methods we use for modern games -- we had to go back and draw things by hand and make sure we got it right. It's a laborious process at times, but I think in the end it pays off because you get the realism of that 8-bit era.

1UP: One last question, then. You said that MM2 is very popular in Japan, and I'm wondering if you've seen things like the fan-made video Air Man Will Not Die, these fan-made games and tributes to the series, and if they give you encouragement and confidence when you're working on MM9?

HT: When I see things like that, especially using, say, footage from MM2, which is an old game, it makes me realize, "Wow, people have loved this game for this long," and I'm really happy the fans have been with the series for so long. It also teaches me something about the game -- what the fans like about it. It makes me grateful to them for that. Of course, we could also talk about copyright issues! (laughs) Things of that nature...but I don't want to get into that, because I'm just happy to see these things. I can't really say that, of course, but it's great that fans love the game.

Hey, kids! Daddy's back!

Oh, man. How creepy did that sound? No need to answer.
Anyway, I took some time off from the blog and a few other things, but I'm back for the craziness that is E3 2008, and boy, was it a crazy day! I figure I'll do a quick recap of the things that caught my attention the most today. Hope you enjoy.

Today was Microsoft's press conference, and a lot of goodies and information came from it. Sure, we had new nuggets of information for games like Gears of War 2, Too Human, and Rare's fall games, but we also got some huge announcements, too. One is that Microsoft is updating their dashboard with a new, slicker interface. Coupled with that, are the Nintendo Wii Mii-inspired avatars which look very nice. We sort of have a range of avatars for all three consoles now: Wii is cartoon-ish characters, the 360's avatars are more realistic cartoon creations, and Sony's Home are very much realistic-- a full spectrum of avatar styles!

The second announcement is that-- from my understanding and reading comprehension-- 360 owners will be able to copy games to their hard drive and play them without needing to read the disc. This will cut down load times as well as effort needed from any given 360. Of course, you'll need to keep the played game in the console so it knows that you own it.

Microsoft's last announcement, and quite probably the largest, is that the once PS3-exclusive, Final Fantasy XIII, will be hitting the 360 simultaneously alongside the PS3 version. Oh, how I loved the fanboy tears! By chance, is there a petition up yet? Hopefully Sony has some entertaining stuff for tomorrow, but is there really anything they can do to fill that hole that is there from the announcement of their biggest game no longer being exclusive? I hope so, and we'll find out tomorrow.

While their conference isn't until tomorrow morning, Nintendo had some news of their own to share to get a jump on the competition.

Now, what is that, you ask? Well, that adapter-looking thing (I'm so technical) allows even more intricate motion-sensing, more specifically, 1:1. Now what is 1:1? Well, imagine moving around the Wii remote, twisting and turning it. Your movements will instantaneously be picked up and expressed by the character on screen. This opens up worlds of possibilities that most likely no one but Nintendo will explore. Regardless, it's good news all the same.

Finally, I'd like to take a moment to show my favorite trailers and videos from this, the first day of E3 2008. Now, these are to my preferences, so please bare with me if I'm missing one of your favorites.

Gears of War 2

Resident Evil 5

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

By the way, Rare announced that they will be bringing both Nintendo 64 classics, the original Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie to Xbox Live Arcade with enhanced graphics and finally the mystery of Stop 'n' Swap will be revealed as you'll be able to connect the games to Nuts and Bolts.

Mirror's Edge

Star Ocean 4

Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

Thanks, and be sure to come back for tomorrow's big announcements! There's also going to be some new reviews this week, too!