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Archive for June 2012

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June 26, 2012 Posted by Evan in Reviews, Wii

Pikmin 2 (Wii Edition) Review

Motion Controls Make an Already Great Game Better.

Pikmin 2

The long-awaited third entry in the Pikmin franchise is due before year's end, and Nintendo took the initiative to cut the wait with a re-release of Pikmin 2 on the Wii, part of it's New Play Control! line of titles. As a series, Pikmin has been met with critical acclaim from consumers, and still feels as fresh and unique as it once was more than ten years after the original game. With the introduction of motion controls to the game, Pikmin 2 just got a whole lot fresher.Thankfully, Pikmin 2 actually benefits from the addition of motion controls; there's no unnecessary waggle here! As either Louie or Olimar, the player directs Pikmin to fight the aliens of Earth, destroy obstacles, or pick up treasures with an on-screen reticule, now controlled by aiming a Wii remote. The accuracy that pointing the Wii remote provides is similar to the precision of a mouse in PC gaming, and is such an improvement over aiming with the GameCube's analog stick. Precision and speed are key in directing one's Pikmin, and as a real-time strategy game of sorts, Pikmin 2 has been improved tremendously. Though the game boasts the New Play Control monicker, that's really the only motion control in the entire game! Nothing requires the player to shake the Wii remote or the nunchuck. Even the menus are navigated with the nunchuck's analog stick. Thus, Pikmin 2's controls are updated, but refined to a relatively comfortable transition.

Pikmin 2

That said, how does Pikmin 2 hold up eight years after it's original release, and does it deserve to be bought again? A resounding quite well, and yes, respectively. As stated before, the game still feels as fresh as ever, and thanks to Nintendo's decision to add it to the Nintendo Selects line of games for $20, there's really no incentive to not buy it. The GameCube edition of Pikmin 2 can be quite scarce to come by, and at upwards of $40 on ebay and Amazon, Pikmin 2 is very affordable. As a follow up to the first Pikmin, the game improves the formula in just about every way imaginable. The 30 day time limit from the first game has been done away with, in favor of a money-making system that allows for maximum exploration of the planet. For those who haven't experienced Pikmin 2 yet, or the Pikmin series in general, 2 is a very forgiving game. It takes a decent amount of time to amass an army of Pikmin, and with the 30 day formula of the first game, things could get quite stressful. Now, the player has an unlimited amount of time to do anything and everything, and though 100%-ing the game is still quite a challenge, it's much more feasible this time around.

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The Walking Dead: Episode 1 Review

Telltale begins the zombie apocalypse in style.

The Walking Dead

Telltale games, developer of classic hits such as Sam and Max: Beyond Time and Space and the Tales of Monkey Island series recently tried their hand at licensed properties, with mixed results. Back to the Future and the Jurassic Park: The Game, Telltale's previous two titles, had potential, but fell short in a number of areas. In The Walking Dead, however, the creators have successfully captured the moral grey area that shrouds the decisions of characters in a zombie apocalypse.

The Walking Dead

The game offers a refreshing change to the typical first person shooter interpretation of the genre. The zombie genre is ripe with action movies and games that are gore fests. The Walking Dead offers a welcome twist. The game is plot driven and encourages players to think about their choices. During the quick first episode players will only kill around 8 zombies where as in a one hour campaign of the Left 4 Dead series players will kill over 1,000 zombies. Telltale sticks to the elements that made the comic and the TV show emotionally charged. They explore how people and families deal with a zombie apocalypse.

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Giveaway - Win a Copy of Lollipop Chainsaw!

Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw is now available in stores, and to celebrate, one of you is going to win a copy! One of the infamous Bosses of Zombie Rock - we're not telling you which one - is hiding somewhere on the site. Find it, and tell us where in the form below. All correct guesses are entered to win a copy of Lollipop Chainsaw in your choice of Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 formats.

Although a zombie should stick out like a sore thumb here, we'll give you a hint: you're looking for one of the zombies featured in the trailer below.



Entry form and full rules follow after the jump.

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June 10, 2012 Posted by Evan in 3DS, Reviews

Mario Tennis Open Review

Mario and friends are back for another tennis match.

Mario Tennis Open

It's been 8 years since a new Mario Tennis game has graced our Nintendo consoles, and frankly, that's 8 years too long. Mario Tennis games have been unanimously fine-crafted, and the portable entries in the franchise are no exception. When a Mario Tennis game is featured on a portable console, it's expected to be an excellent tennis-RPG hybrid, a combination that is just insane enough to turn out awesome. And regrettably, with the release of Mario Tennis Open, the trend of RPG excellence that portable Mario Tennis games offer has been broken. That said, Mario Tennis Open is far from being a bad game. Camelot, the game's developer, have been at the helm of the series ever since Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, and they've done a fantastic job at creating a tennis game that feels downright good to play. However, the approach they've taken with this title is significantly less Mario-like than other entries in the series. Nothing about the main game is over-the-top or whimsical. In fact, the removal of the physics-breaking “Power Shots” introduced in Mario Power Tennis have left the game feeling like a beautiful, enhanced port of the Nintendo 64 entry. Fortunately, Mario Tennis is a great title to grasp inspiration from, and Open plays and feels just as great as the other entries.

Mario Tennis Open

Mario Tennis Open features a few additions to the series, the most important being color-coded shots. When the ball is returned by the opponent, a colored circle may appear on the player's side of the court. Each color, six in all, correspond to either a single button, or a button combo, and in order to fully take advantage of the shot, the player must stand within the circle on the court. The addition of this new play type is certainly a game-changer, and with the subtraction of Power Shots, it brings the series back to relying on the skill of the player rather than over-powered games of chance. Following the course of the first game, each of the sixteen characters fall into different class types: All-Around, Technique, Speed, Tricky, and Power. These categories define each character's play style exactly as they sound, and the difference between each is definitely noticeable. The second noteworthy addition is the option to play as one's Mii. Rather than falling into the aforementioned classes as the other characters do, Mii's are a blank canvas to be painted by different outfits, each containing skill set variations. These outfits are comparable to Mario Kart 7's different kart parts, allowing for complete customization and a Mii that truly reflects the player's preferences. In a way, this feature is a shadow of the RPG elements in the Mario Tennis portable offerings of yesteryear, but a shadow nonetheless.

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June 5, 2012 Posted by Evan in News, Previews

Nintendo: All Access E3 Presentation - Play by Play

Nintendo

Nintendo held a surprisingly low key, Wii U focused press conference earlier today. Serving as a follow up of sorts to Sunday's Wii U oriented Nintendo Direct presentation, today's event consisted mainly of a Wii U software showcase. Shigeru Miyamoto began with a short Pikmin skit, hyping up the third game in the franchise by super-imposing the creatures on different audience members. Miyamoto continued by reiterating that the Wii U's goal was to reinvent the concept of the television/console relationship; the fact that consoles are dependent on the television is rather limiting. The Wii U was developed with it's own screen to circumvent this. Miyamoto stressed that he wanted the Wii U to be the first screen players and family would see when entering the living room. Pikmin 3 was first name-dropped several years ago, and it was thought it would be in development for the Wii. However, upon seeing the Wii U hardware in action, Miyamoto thought Pikmin 3 would be better suited on the Wii U and given an experience that isn't possible on any other platform.

The game looks absolutely gorgeous thanks to the horsepower of the new console. The gameplay of Pikmin 3 is very similar to the first two Pikmin, but Miyamoto found that the Wii U solved issues addressed in the first two games. He spoke of the camera issues, saying if it was too far away, one could see the landscape better, but couldn't see the Pikmin well enough to control them accurately. The Wii U has solved this puzzle, as one can see an expanded, natural setting on the Wii U game pad's screen, and the view on the television is more free because of this. The player can touch the map to more effectively place the Pikmin in different areas, and the game gets much more tactical because of this. The main game is controlled by aiming and throwing with the Wii remote and movement with the nunchuk. A new rock-type Pikmin was revealed, and it's uses were demonstrated by doling out more damage to enemies, and breaking down objects and obstacles faster than the other Pikmin types. Opening up multiplayer options was the announcement of four additional captains to control, but any information other than that will come at a later date. In closing, the hero of the previous Pikmin tiles, Capitain Olimar, was mysteriously absent from the title, and Miyamoto went on to say the reason for this was a secret.

When Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage, he promised 23 Wii U titles to hit the stage during the conference, though many of these were third party titles, teased in a sizzle reel. As has become a standard with any home console, planned Hulu Plus, Youtube, Amazon Video, and Netflix apps were announced to be available at launch, with "more on the way".

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