Saturday, June 9, 2012

How Can I Improve SuperPhillip Central?

E3 brought a lot of traffic to this humble blog, an alarming amount actually. I say hello to the new readers of SPC, and I hope you will stick with me and my ramblings for a long time. Or at least until you grow bored of me repeating myself. Updated: And for those new, how about you get to know me a little?

That said, I am wondering what I can do to improve your experience at SuperPhillip Central. What can I do to make this blog even better? More reviews? More news? More editorials? More content (well, to be fair, this week I posted the most entries to this blog of any week in SPC history)? Should I somehow scrounge up the money to afford my own domain name for easy access? Should I get some people to help spread the word about SPC to other people and sites? Should I affiliate with more places of wider range and categories? Too many questions, but I would be open to any suggestions from the SPC public. Feel free to post a comment here, or if you would rather, e-mail me at superphillip32[at]yahoo[dot]com. Replace the [at] and [dot] with the necessary symbols. I run this blog, but I do care what the community has to say. Otherwise I wouldn't even bother shamelessly fishing for comments at the end of each story. Thanks for your time and continued use of SuperPhillip Central!

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Favorite New Games From E3 2012

I don't usually post two exclusive-to-SPC articles, reviews, segments, etc. in one day. Since this was E3 week, why not? There was a shocking amount of regurgitated games being shown that were from previous events. In order to find actual new titles you had to search high and low through the hollowed halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Still, I imagined to piece together a handful of brand-new titles that have my curiosity aroused.

Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)

The only non-Nintendo console game on this list, Beyond: Two Souls is a supernatural tale starring a girl named Jodie Holmes, voiced by Ellen Page. Quantic Dream, the developer behind Heavy Rain, claims the game will have a mature storyline featuring many choices for the player to partake in. What was shown at Sony's E3 press conference was a sensational-looking cutscene including a policeman trying to futilely and politely pry information from a nonspeaking Ms. Holmes. A SWAT team busts into the quiet town's police station, and the leader of the team instructs the policeman to open the door to the room the two were sitting in. Then came a bunch of action-packed scenes. Since this game appears to be akin to Heavy Rain, who knows how much "gameplay" will actually be in this title? Nonetheless, I'm intrigued.

New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)

Last year we saw a tech demo called New Super Mario Bros. Mii that looked nothing more than some new levels of the Wii version with an HD coating. This year the curtain was raised on the game's final form, New Super Mario Bros. U. The foreground and models still look blase, but the backgrounds are quite catching. I'm digging the art style and look of the game. I've watched a player on the show floor go through the three demo levels: one beginning level, one set in the clouds atop mushroom platforms with a cameo by a red Baby Yoshi, and a level with twirling star platforms in a winter wonderland. The level design looks top notch to me. People have the jewels to compare New Super Mario Bros. to Call of Duty, but I don't recall New Super Mario Bros. to be a yearly series selling to college kids. It is constantly providing everyone with what I like to call "comfort food gaming" with excellent level design and clever placement of obstacles, enemies, and traps. 

Pikmin 3 (Wii U)

The opening for Nintendo's 2012 E3 show was very cute. It had Shigeru Miyamoto in his dressing room with his pet creations, the Pikmin, sauntering and hiding anywhere and everywhere. The game itself looks like it was moved in late development from Wii to Wii U (which it actually was), but it still resembles something particularly impressive. Utilizing either the comfortable Wii remote and nunchuk combo or the Wii U Gamepad, players can quickly and effortlessly cycle between groups of Pikmin, chucking them at foes, breaking down walls, and carrying objects back to home base. It's been ten years or so since we've last "pik-ed" up from Captain Olimar's journey on a strange planet, and it is great to have him back.

Rayman Legends (Wii U)

Compared to New Super Mario Bros. U's style, Rayman Legends is a work of art. It's not known whether or not the game is a Wii U exclusive or maybe even a timed exclusive, but all we do know is that the game is coming to the Wii U during the launch period. Wait-- two terrific modes of platforming on one console during one period? I must be gaming heaven. Sure, Rayman is a less-than-popular character, but his last game, Rayman Origins, was superb. The Wii U Gamepad offers content that wouldn't be available on other platforms if the game were to be ported. Having extra help and extra friends (using Wii remotes) is something that excites me. Did I mention that the game looks absolutely stunning?

Project P-100 (Wii U) 

Now the exclusion of this game at Nintendo's press conference certainly ticked me off. Apparently showing a six month old game is considered valuable time spent but a cunning collaboration between Nintendo and Platinum Games isn't worth a millisecond to the presser public. It is sort of what would happen if you combined Pikmin with Viewtiful Joe. It is almost set up the same way with levels being divided by sections where at the conclusion of each section your score for that part is shown. Your team of everyday superheroes can morph into many forms to take down formidable foes. A gun? No problem. How about a sword? Sure thing. What about pudding to bounce back enemy projectiles? You bet. This game has everything-- charm, wit, action, and something you don't see much in HD, color. I wonder if this game showing up at the E3 conference would have made fans less agitated and more enthused with the Wii U.

Nintendo Land (Wii U)

Maybe not the best game to end a show on, but then again, E3 really doesn't matter as much as it has in the past, Nintendo Land takes twelve existing Nintendo properties such as Mario, Luigi's Mansion, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Animal Crossing, Donkey Kong, and F-Zero and makes mini-games inspired from them. Something tells me as someone who is a forward-thinker (feel free to boast, SuperPhillip) that Nintendo Land is meant to be a game to get the word out of Nintendo's franchises to people who wouldn't normally know about them. So when F-Zero U (this game is not confirmed whatsoever), for example, arrives on store shelves, the unassuming consumer can go "hey, I played something like that on Nintendo Land" and pick the game up. I'm wondering if Nintendo is planning on making this the Wii Sports of the Wii U or if it will be doomed to be the Wii Play of the system. I have carefully contained hype for this game. We'll see how it shapes up much later, as well as what the other six mini-games are-- even though the franchises have been hinted by game icons.


I think there's a statement to be made when only a handful of games from E3 2012 are actually all-new-- much less the ones I've picked. Of course, it IS the end of a generation, but I think it also really shows how marginalized E3 has become, doesn't it? Most of the games I listed will be available on Wii U, so I guess I shouldn't beat up on Nintendo's efforts too much just yet. No use jumping the gun until closer to launch. What new games from E3 2012 appealed to you most? I'm sure some of you might care for Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs or ZombiU. Those just aren't my cup of tea. Share your thoughts on E3 in past articles such as these:

Top Five Reasons E3 2012 Was Underwhelming
Nintendo, Third Parties, and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Report Card - E3 2012 Press Conferences
Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of E3 2012

...Or just choose an article to start rambling about from the SPC Feature Catalog.

Project P-100 (Wii U) Gameplay Walkthrough

By far one of my most anticipated Wii U titles is the Nintendo x Platinum Games collaboration, Project P-100. You get over ten minutes to early level footage which showcases the vibrant colors, decidedly Japanese zaniness, and Pikmin-esque teamwork. The video shows the player's controller at all times, so you get a really wonderful idea on what the game will be like if and when you get it in your hands. I'm just a bit saddened that Nintendo didn't feel the need to show this gem at their press conference. Perhaps we'd be seeing a little less complaining then.

Yoko Kanno's Newest Soundtrack - Kids on the Slope

Yoko Kanno, you may know by now, is my favorite composer. It's really something as most of the anime she writes music for doesn't interest me. Well, she's at it again, penning the music for a series directed by the man behind Cowboy Bebop-- an anime I actually do adore. The series is called Kids on the Slope, a coming of age tale of teenage jazz musicians. That's enough of a description of the plot. No doubt you realize that the soundtrack must be mostly jazz. Quite perceptive of you! I'd like to share some of my favorite tracks of the show. Some are actually covers of popular jazz tunes:

Top Five Reasons E3 2012 Was Underwhelming

E3 2012 is finito. It is over. It is done. It is completed. It is-- well, you get the idea. However, while I usually come off as excited for the industry when an E3 concludes, I'm left this year with the complete opposite feeling. Would you like to know why? Sure thing. I have five major reasons why this E3 was less than spectacular. In fact, it downright was underwhelming.

5) The best press conference was Ubisoft's

That says it all, doesn't it? It says a lot when the best press conference at E3 2012 was that of Ubisoft, and even then it didn't give me much faith in the future of the industry. I don't care about Watch_Dogs as that isn't a game that excites me, and considering that is the most talked about game from the conference, that speaks volumes. At least there was Rayman Legends which showed a very entertaining demo of one of the faster paced levels in the game. The art style is lovely and the crazy gameplay was quite enticing. But for every Rayman Legends at the show, there were twenty Far Cry 3s, Splinter Cells, Assassin's Creed 3s, and Just Dance 4's that I just wasn't impressed by. Notice how all of those except Watch_Dogs are sequels. The state of the industry right now suffers from "sequelitis." Most games showcased at each conference was chock full of sequels to existing IPs. I'm very down on the gaming culture and industry right now, and E3 2012 didn't do me any favors.

4) Sony treated their Vita as a second-class citizen

Apparently Sony cut out a sizzle reel containing various Vita games at their E3 press conference due to time constraints. Perhaps they could have lowered the amount of time dedicated to Wonderbook (an interesting idea that doesn't look like it works all too well) by a little bit to fit the Vita offerings in. What was shown was confirmation of a new and exclusive Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. But just not even giving Vita owners solace in the fact that Sony cares enough about the system to showcase its lineup at its own press conference is worrying to me. On the actual show floor the majority of titles are ports that are available on other systems. Are people really going to shell out $250+ on a platform that has games shared by its big brother, the PS3? I want to like the Vita. It has sexy hardware and potential, but if Sony and third-parties aren't even showcasing the system much at E3, why should I even care then? Maybe I'm just being overly negative. What do you think?

3) Near nonexistent Japanese support

I love Japanese games. I don't mean the "If I was trapped in a sealed room with a girl, I'd--" type games. I mean games like Monster Hunter, Resident Evil (which actually was at the show, to be fair), Final Fantasy, Tales of, Professor Layton, among other games. I don't like this generation because companies like Capcom and Konami tried way too hard to emulate Western gaming philosophies, giving their storied IPs to Western developers, and completely forgetting about their own design ideals. The lack of heavy Japanese presence at this year's E3 was quite disappointing. Are the majority of publishers waiting for the Tokyo Game Show? In any case, the pithy amount of offerings made me very sad as a gamer.

2) The Wii U's future isn't looking too bright right now

The supposed purpose of Nintendo's E3 2012 press conference was to get the world excited about the Wii U. Well, with the current state of message boards declaring Nintendo doomed, declaring them as DOA and going third-party, and saying that casuals left to smartphones and tablets so they will have no interest in a home console, it's fair to say that Nintendo failed. Even CNN wrote an article confusing the Wii U as merely an add-on to the current Wii. There isn't excitement for the console, and fans and haters alike seem to be glued to negative news while saying any article that is positive for the system is obviously a bribe from Nintendo. Seriously? That's almost as bad as the people who feel like Nintendo betrayed them. Yeah, a multimillion dollar corporation was your friend and cared about you. Not. People taking things so personally is just pathetic. Offense meant. And if you need more complaining about the third-party situation, see here. Regardless, there's still time to turn these around, but Nintendo definitely has a great uphill battle ahead of them. We just have to sit through angry fanboy rants, circle jerks like on NeoFAQs, and disingenuous "I have no interest in the Wii U now" posts from people who never cared about Nintendo's console in the first place for the next six years.

1) The realization that E3 is a hollow shell of what it once was

It seems that E3 is no longer a show that gamers should hotly anticipate. It is no longer Christmas for gamers. That should be obvious by how many publishers (such as Take Two) didn't show up and didn't show many games for most of the preexisting platforms. Why bother when they can set up their own shows, not compete with other companies for time and press, and do their own thing? The obvious lack of Japanese presence at E3 completely should have tipped people off that E3 is a shell of its former self. Microsoft and Nintendo doesn't even take it seriously anymore. Sony seems to be the only of the first-parties who still do, and even then their press conference was still graded with a C-. As for Nintendo, they now do their own thing like Nintendo Direct streaming presentations and their own conferences on their own time and dime. I wouldn't be surprised to see more publishers pull out of E3 next year while creating their own special events. There is nothing left to do but deal with it.


E3 2012 might go down as one of the worst in history. No hyperbole intended. It, as the top five title states, was entirely underwhelming. The theme of the show was ironically "Innovation Unveiled" yet what was unveiled was a copious amount of sequels (I know it's the end of a generation, but c'mon) and uninspired me-toos and ideas. The thought that next-gen only means more power and is not measured by new features or innovation sort of makes me wish we are coming close to another crash. (Digitally Downloaded has the same idea about a crash but for a totally different reason.) The same ideas are being passed off as new despite just being old ideas with a new coat of paint. E3 is regressing, and we are all just victims of it. It is our fault for hyping an event that the past has shown was changing in audience, meaning, and impact. I look forward to non-E3 events like Nintendo Directs, Vita Game Heavens, and Tokyo Game Shows. Because E3, something that I once could count on, is no longer serving that purpose anymore.

For more articles, editorials, and special segments, check out the SPC Feature Catalog

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Classics I Can Return To - Part Three

When you are in the review business like I am, you are constantly playing the latest games or games on your backlog (in the case of Retro Reviews) in an attempt to push your judgment of said titles to the public. That doesn't leave a lot of time to sit back, relax and unwind to your favorite games that you can just keep coming back to. Like in Part One and Part Two, these seven games are titles that I just can't get enough of. After you've read my picks, why not write down your own in the comments section?

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

From the mind of Masahiro Sakurai (creator of Kirby and Super Smash Bros.) and his team comes Kid Icarus: Uprising, the most recent game on this list. While a very vocal sect of gamer has trouble conforming to the controls, I adapted to them quite easily. Not saying I'm a better gamer than they are, so please don't get me wrong. Uprising is packed with clever dialogue, humorous scenarios, intense battles on land and in the air, terrific music (some of the best music in Nintendo's history), over one hundred individual weapons that can have various stat attributes (seldom are two weapons ever the same), and a myriad of things to accomplish. There are over 300 challenges like beating every chapter on the highest difficulty, finishing off a boss with a certain attack, scoring a set amount of points in a chapter, and so forth to complete, unlocking awesome in-game content like music, idols, weapons, multiplayer arenas, and more. This is one game I can just play through one chapter or participate in one multiplayer battle and have some fun with.

Mega Man X4 (PS1, SAT)

One of the better Mega Man X games in the series, Mega Man X4 took the franchise to a new generation and to a new platform. The level of detail in the character, enemy, and background design still amazes to this day, and the actual level design is full of smart enemy placement, tricky platforming, and hidden secrets like secret heart tanks, E-tanks, and Dr. Light's armor-upgrading capsules. The range of locales takes players through cyberspace, aboard a roaring industrial train, through an spaceport, into the humid jungle, chilling in an arctic base, hot-footing it through a volcano, riding fast and free on motorbikes, and climbing a fungus-filled tower. The game is ubiquitously known for its awful, so-bad-it's-good dub filled with unintentionally humorous moments. Speaking of sound, the music of this game is some of the best in Mega Man's illustrious career. A game that I try to complete on a yearly basis, Mega Man X4 fits the bill as a wonderful experience.

Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2)

Unlike Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal-- an excellent game on its own, Going Commando had a better balance of platforming a gun-toting action. The amount of high-powered weaponry at Ratchet's disposal was unprecedented, and this time it allowed continued use of each weapon to reward the player with upgrades. Ratchet and Clank's adventure through the universe took them through swampy bogs, sunny metropolises, snowy industrial areas, and space casinos. Hidden in every level were well-placed Platinum Bolts. There were also skill points-- predating achievements and trophies-- that unlocked bonus content for players. The game also introduced the coliseum concept that would appear in many later sequels, pitting Ratchet against a flotilla of foes in a contest for both survival and endurance. Going Commando remains my favorite Ratchet & Clank game, and I cannot wait to be able to play it in HD with the other PS2 Ratchet titles in the upcoming PS3 collection.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

I mentioned earlier about Masahiro Sakurai. Well, he's back on this list with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the ultimate Nintendo fan service and Smash Bros. game-- ultra-competitive players be damned! The game is filled to the brim with things to do, things to see. There's the interesting approach to a story mode with the Subspace Emissary, the multitude of stages to play on including but not limited to: Delfino Plaza, Mushroomy Kingdom, Mario Circuit, Port Town: Aero Dive, Skyworld, Frigate Orpheon, Summit, New Pork City, and several classic Melee stages, various new characters like Metaknight, King Dedede, Wario, Pit, Lucario, Wolf, Captain Olimar, and R.O.B, a ton of challenges to complete, multiple modes like Classic, All-Star, and Stadium, online play, hundreds of trophies and stickers to collect, and so much more than I can't even imagine to list off without getting tongue-tied. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a game that I have no doubt put over 300 hours into. That's a lot for a person like me who goes from game to game like a hobo passes through towns.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)

Complaints about the plastic-looking visuals aside, New Super Mario Bros. Wii created a charming world for up to four players locally to run, jump, and find secrets in. Some would call this game co-op while others might just call it counter-op as "friends" can really mess over one another. The level design encourages exploration, and there really seems to be a reason for everything-- enemy placement, obstacle placement, wall placement, etc.-- to exist. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is well-oiled machine most definitely, and even alone it is just as enjoyable to pick up and play. Hunting for star coins in each level, battling the Koopa Kids, taking out Bowser Jr. aboard his various airships, and delving into the typical trope worlds of Mario were all entertaining aspects of the game. I cherish gameplay more than presentation, so the relatively uninspired visuals didn't phase me that much. However, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed by New Super Mario Bros. U's graphics. Wowee!

God of War Collection (PS3)

This might be cheating, but oh well. Taking the two greatest titles of the God of War franchise, one and two, God of War Collection puts these modern classics onto one Bluray and displays them in glorious high-definition. There are so many memorable moments and set pieces throughout the first two God of War games like seeing the Hydra monster for the first time, sacrificing a poor man in a cage in order to move forward, taking down the Minotaur, being stalked and hunted by the Colossus of Rhodes, and facing off against the mighty Kraken. Sure, Kratos may be an entirely unlikable reprehensible character, but it sure is fun brutally beating enemies from Greek mythology. Though trekking through Hades time and time again certainly grows dull. Regardless, God of War may seem to be going through the motions with the most recent installment coming out in 2013, God of War: Ascension, but the original PS2 games will remain great classics.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong-Quest (SNES)

I generally don't play Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong-Quest (I always called it Diddy Kong's Quest before I found out the true name) by myself as the game can be pretty tough in later levels. I tend to play with my brother. I'm usually the role of Dixie Kong. Gotta love those golden locks and pink beret. Each level constantly throws something new into the mix, and the "gimmick", if you will, of each level gets expanded upon little by little throughout the level it is presented in until you get to the climax where the true craziness begins. And what discussion about Donkey Kong Country 2 could go without talking about how Rare nailed the atmosphere of the game through the gorgeous graphics and exemplary sound design? The music is some of the 16-bit era's best, and the fine folks behind it are true innovators. I don't throw that term around lightly either. With the game on the Wii's Virtual Console I can play it time and time again now without having to dust off the ol' SNES.

For more articles, editorials, and special segments, check out the SPC Feature Catalog.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS) E3 Trailer

For the first time in series history a Paper Mario game hits a handheld, and it is doing so in a big way. Collect stickers from anywhere and everywhere and use them in battle or on the various maps of the game. Complete tasks for NPCs to gather new helpful boosts to Mario. The apparent lack of partners might be disappointing, but Paper Mario: Sticker Star is shaping up to a be welcomed installment to the franchise.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) E3 Trailer

An old haunt from last E3 shows up once more for this E3 in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. The game features multiple mansions to explore and suck up ghosts in as well as some stellar visuals. The folks behind Punchout!! for Wii and Mario Strikers: Charged are behind the development of this title. Look forward to the game coming out sometime this holiday season.

New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U) Gameplay Footage

I love the platformer the most out of any genre. New Super Mario Bros. U seems like a top-tier product and a capable launch title for the Wii U. Join Nintendo World Report as they jump into three levels in three specific locales. While the player controlling Mario dashes and leaps around, the player with the Wii U Gamepad creates helpful platforms for him to jump on. This title truly excites me, something that a handful of Wii U games have.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nintendo, Third Parties, and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I am at the point where talking about Nintendo and third parties is as monotonous as talking about the complexities of the corn stalk. It is a topic I've broached about incessantly, but I must do so again as the same mistakes are being made once more. Same mistakes, new console. 

Nintendo reportedly said that they were focusing more on the core gamer with the Wii U, yet with their E3 2012 press conference, they did nothing to really entice this sect of video game enthusiast. Sure, there was a new Pikmin (finally) and a new 2D Mario platformer confirmed for launch, but for every core offering there was a sample or two of a game for casuals. Not to say casual gaming is bad! But after showing off Pikmin 3, the conference fell off a proverbial cliff and disappointed legions of fans, some even turning on Nintendo in a predictable fashion. 

Pikmin 3 may appeal to the Nintendo faithful,
but who else will it appeal to?
The problem with third parties on Wii U is eerily similar to the third party situation on Wii (which people still like to play revisionist history on, saying third parties actually "tried" on the Wii when they really didn't and their games didn't sell). In order to sell well on any system-- not just a Nintendo system-- is to build a user base on the console. Doing it as close to launch is optimal, but it isn't 100% necessary. However, third parties are already avoiding the platform like they did the Wii. With Wii, most third parties banked on the HD consoles and many lost money because of it. Then after the rousing success of the Wii, they put out late games that had no user base to sell off of. They published and developed test games, poor ports, and when they did create a generally accepted a as great effort game, they placed no marketing or advertising behind it. Though, in rare cases a game did do well like Disney Epic Mickey, Monster Hunter Tri, Just Dance, and Boom Blox.

Third parties and Nintendo are already failing with the Wii U. Why would anyone want to buy a year-late port of Batman: Arkham City or buy the second or third game in a series that they have either played on another platform or have never played before at all? Why isn't there a Mass Effect collection or Darksiders I port for those interested in the Wii U? It's mind-boggling how bad the ball is being dropped.

The second game of a series in which the first never
appeared on a Nintendo platform. Huh.
It also says a lot about the trepidation or downright disdain for the Wii U third parties have when even EA doesn't announce any EA Sports titles for the system at launch. That is like a rarity that only happens as often as Venus crossing the path of the sun. EA's president even was up on stage last E3 with Nintendo. What happened? Where did that excitement go? What has Nintendo been doing for a year? Analysts and fans alike assumed that most games were just under a non-disclosure agreement and that is why more third party games weren't announced. Turns out there were simply NO games to announce!

One of the few third party games I'm interested in on Wii U.
But what is the excuse for third parties this time? With the Nintendo 64 it was Nintendo still using cartridges as the game format; with the GameCube it was Nintendo using mini DVDs, allowing for less storage space; and with the Wii it was the underpowered hardware. What is the excuse here for the HD and relatively powerful Wii U? Already we have Hideo Kojima saying that if he made a game for the Wii U it would have to use the Wii U controller well. Why? That just screams "excuse" to me. If you can't figure out a use for the Gamepad, use the Pro controller. That's what it is there for.

"I like the potential of the Wii U, but I'd
have to create something unique for it."
It seems once again that most third parties are setting themselves up for failure with low-effort ports that when they don't sell (as they shouldn't and probably won't) they can blame Nintendo and their user base for it instead of themselves. This isn't solely third parties' fault. Nintendo is just as much to blame this time around. They promised content, and somehow, someway they failed to deliver yet again. They have learned absolutely nothing since the 3DS fiasco and the Wii third party situation, which is a shame as we will now have to sit through thousands of "Nintendo is doomed" commentary pieces and message board posts from both fans and detractors alike for years to come.

For more articles, editorials, and special segments, check out the SPC Feature Catalog.

Pikmin 3 (Wii U) E3 Trailer

I posted gameplay footage of this title yesterday, but I forgot to post the actual trailer. It got lost in the shuffle, so to speak. Not anymore, however, as here it is in all of its glory.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PS3) New Screens

Right as we are knee-deep in coverage of E3, new screenshots for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time have been released. Gotta admire the guns on Bentley! The game looks markedly improved over its last showing, and I can't wait for a more platform/non-mini-game focused attempt at the franchise.

The Buzz - June 6th, 2012

Update: June 5th, 2012 marked SuperPhillip Central's best day of views yet at 2,112. Fitting as it was our 4-year anniversary! Sure, it might not compare to many blogs out there, but I'm darned proud!

June 6th, 2012 Buzz results.
Time for our second look at which stories the SPC populace is reading the most! It's time to get your buzz. I personally think Rank Up! God of War is never going to be surpassed in weekly views, and it is definitely never been usurped in total views. Over 35,000 views total. Not bad for a story that was originally posted in September 2011. Two installments of Report Card dominate the top three with the Sony PSP and Xbox 360. Poor Wii and DS. Meanwhile, the Top Five Spider-Man Games will probably drum up even more views with the upcoming release of The Amazing Spider-Man. Then comes the ever-popular Pushmo QR codes, my glowing review of Batman: Arkham City, Best of... Mario Kart, and two recently released articles round out the bottom three Buzz articles: Top Five Worst E3 Moments and Report Card - E3 2012 Press Conferences! Can't forget Rank Up! Nintendo Consoles. Perhaps we will see a Rank Up! for PlayStation platforms... Hm.. maybe that Central City Census was an indicator of something more...

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS3, 360, Wii) E3 Trailer

Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Rabbit return, and this time they are teaming up together to save the day. Two players can work with one another to participate in platforming perils and other entertaining feats. Defeat enemies, solve puzzles, and collect various doodads in Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Report Card - E3 2012 Press Conferences

UPDATE: SuperPhillip Central is celebrating four years online. Come share the love and reminisce here!

Do you feel there isn't enough ranting and raving on the Internet? Well, then settle down and enjoy. The final of the big three press conferences ended earlier today with Nintendo showing a little more in-depth their new Wii U console. It is time to send for the Report Card segment! Three conferences, three grades, no bull. Okay, maybe a little bull. We will go in order of presentation: Microsoft, Sony, and then Nintendo.


Great. You're number one worldwide. Now give me something-- ANYTHING-- to play. To be quite honest, the only thing that interested in me at all in Microsoft's E3 2012 showing was gameplay from Resident Evil 6, a title that I'm going to get on another console anyway. Otherwise you had Microsoft's typical gun/shoot/kill-fests in Halo 4, Gears of War: Judgment, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (which had the most boring demonstration). I don't mean to sound snobbish, but I'm not 12 anymore and I'm not the college frat-boy archetype. I don't find the need to play shooters to fulfill my juvenile male fantasies while drinking Mountain Dew and calling my opponents racial and homophobic slurs. This isn't intending to generalize all of you who play those types of games, so please don't take it that way. There were other games featured including the new Splinter Cell, Tomb Raider, and South Park games. None of which can't be found elsewhere. Then you had announcements that The Weather Channel, Nickolodeon, Twitch, Rhapsody, and more were coming to the now-entertainment-centric Xbox 360. Sorry, everyone who isn't living in the United States, but you don't get any of this. Sorry for wasting your time and giving you false hope.

Something that doesn't particularly grab me but it may others is SmartGlass which my head dozed a little on. My main point through all this witless banter is that Xbox 360 seems to be coasting now with its success mostly due to Kinect. Microsoft did nothing to interest me in any of their titles shown that I couldn't get elsewhere. Their recent exclusives just don't appeal to me whatsoever. I guess I'm just not the audience Microsoft is gunning for. I have no doubt they will continue to do well, especially into next gen as they have the mountains of money to push anything and everything they produce.

Grade: D-


Sony's press conference was my favorite of the three-- which isn't saying much. Jack Tretton hosted and yes, the 200 fans they let in free applauded everything. First that was shown off was Quantic Dream's newest game, Beyond: Two Souls. It showed "gameplay" and some incredibly impressive cinematics. Following that was a three minute gameplay demonstration of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Fat Princess won, and while there was some heavy criticism of calling the game uninspired, I found the action to be enjoyable.

What I was most interested in was Sony's Vita lineup of software, and to say that the company has little faith in their powerful portable is an understatement. You can argue that "Oh, Sony doesn't need to show Vita software off at their press conference; they can show games off on the show floor" all you want, but the fact of the matter is that the handheld is struggling everywhere and Sony needed to show it was serious about supporting and getting support for it. All they announced was a new Assassin's Creed and a Call of Duty game that didn't even have any footage attached to it. I sincerely doubt the crowd that plays Call of Duty will be interested in playing it on a small screen device. You also have multiple ports of PS3 games offering cross play and connectivity, but why shell out $250 for games you can already play on the PS3?

And don't get me started on Wonderbook, which slowed the pace and momentum (as Sony likes to put it) of the show down to a crawl. Regardless, the final touches to the conference were two big 2013 titles: God of War: Ascension (yep, that's God of War, alright) and the jaw-dropping The Last of Us by Naughty Dog. Even with the shameless gift to the crowd of one free year of PS Plus, the show was the most entertaining of the three.

Grade: C-


I am currently constantly rubbing it in the faces of the fans who said that Nintendo had "already won E3" by just showing up. Man, were these poor diluted souls ever wrong! The press conference started out just fine with a cute introduction by Shigeru Miyamoto and the announcement of Pikmin 3. Reggie Fils-Amie said that Nintendo had lots of games to cover, yet opted to talk everyone's ears off about the hardware of their new console, the Wii U. We then saw footage of New Super Mario Bros. U, the newest in the line of milking Mario for all he's worth. Then it went all downhill from there. A demonstration came of a game that is six months old, Batman: Arkham City... but this time it is an Armored Edition! Wowee! What followed was Scribblenauts Unlimited (which isn't Nintendo exclusive by the way) and Wii Fit U.

Ubisoft showed off some titles, and then Scott Moffitt of Nintendo came up, embarrassing himself when he asked for some love/applause and received a polite smattering of claps. Shown off were two more Mario games but for 3DS: New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Paper Mario with new subtitle Sticker Star. Luigi's Mansion 2 was renamed to Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon with some video shown. After Mr. Moffitt left the stage, Just Dance 4 took it.

I don't recall what happened here because at that point I turned the conference off. I see there was a segment devoted to a mini-game collection called Nintendo Land. Funny as both Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, and Reggie Fils-Amie both said that the Wii U was supposed to cater to the so-called "hardcore", yet most games do not appeal to that group of passionate gamer at all. To make matters worse, people thought non-disclosure agreements hid games away from the public eye. It turns out Nintendo just had nothing major to show from first or third parties. When EA isn't even putting sports games for launch, you know there is a problem with your platform. Wii U quickly went from "looks good" to "I'm not getting this at all" within the span of one hour. What was supposed to be a conference to make an argument for buying Nintendo's new system made an argument against buying it any time soon. They made it so even fans are having a hard time finding the desire to buy, and let's not even talk about those heavily invested in the other platforms. Third parties seem to be doing another wait-and-see if it sells self-fulfilling prophecy, and Nintendo obviously has learned nothing about anything. At least there was Mario, Pikmin, and Luigi to soften the brutality and there's a 3DS-focused event tomorrow. If Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing aren't there, this E3 really will be one of the worst in history.

Grade: D


As I just said, this E3 is one of the worst in memory. Every company just seems to not have any interest in providing compelling experiences for anyone. When Ubisoft of all companies has the best showing, you know something is off-kilter. With lukewarm announcements, gaming really feels stale right now, and the big three did nothing to satiate my and a lot of frustrated people's tedium for this hobby. What are your thoughts on the big three's conferences? How would you rate and/or order them?