For Christmas, I received a bunch of gift cards, so I bought some new games.
- New Super Mario Bros Wii
- A Boy and His Blob (Wii)
- Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)
So far, they are all pretty fun, but I think I’ve spent the most time with Batman, especially if you include all the times I played through the demo. The most fun parts, for me, are the parts where you get to do stuff that’s very uniquely Batman. Specifically, the parts of the game where you are in a room with a handful of armed thugs, and you have to take them all out stealthily. The main strategy is simple: wait until they get far enough away from their friends, and take them out, one by one. You can do this a number of ways: sneak up behind them and do a silent takedown, glide across the room from up on a high perch and kick them, hang upside-down from a perch and string them up, etc. It really feels very Batman-esque, and is the most fun I’ve ever had playing a stealth game (which I usually find frustrating). This video will give you some idea what I’m talking about:
I haven’t played much of A Boy and His Blob, but keep this in mind: it was only $20, and it just came out. I first heard about it on the Retronauts podcast (episode 79). I mostly enjoyed the original one for NES, so I thought I’d pick it up.
As far as New Super Mario Brothers Wii: don’t play it with other people (especially people you like). Otherwise, it’s a fantastic 2d-style Mario game that’s very reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers 3 (more so than any other 2d Mario platformer since).
Cool. I won a free virtual console game–River City Ransom–from NintendoWiiFanboy.com (part of Joystiq/AOL).
Here’s a tool assisted speedrun of River City Ransom in 8 minutes, 10 seconds.
WiiWare is coming to the US.
WiiWare is similar to Virtual Console and XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) for Wii. It will allow a Wii owner to purchase and download new games.
It looks like one of the launch titles will be an updated version of Dr. Mario, one my favorite puzzle games of all time.
This version will contain updated graphics and music (although the music sounds similar to the old NES music, thankfully), as well as Mii integration and multiplayer. It will also include “Virus Buster”, which is a similar DS mini-game from Brain Age, I guess.
I don’t know how many hours I’ve whiled away playing Dr. Mario over the years, but I know that when it comes to puzzle games, it’s the one I usually go to first. I even created my own “updated” version of the game a while ago using the Allegro library.
Super Mario Galaxy for SNES? No, it’s not an actual game, just a silly concept. However, from watching this video, I think it would be really fun.
Really Mode-7′s up the place, doesn’t it?
This is the Weekend Update for the weekend of February 15th through February 17th.
Missed the last Weekend Update? Check out the Weekend Update archives.
Friday was my youngest sister’s 16th birthday party. Oh, but it was ridiculous. A lot of that repetitive, pedestrian club music that the kids seem to like. Let me just go on record and say that “Sold-juh Boy” is perhaps the worst song ever recorded.
Soulja Boy up In dis ho
Watch Me Lean And Watch Me Rock
Super Man Dat Ho
Then Watch Me Crank Dat Robocop
Super Fresh, Now Watch Me Jock
Jockin’ On dem Hatas Mane
Okay, fine, but what it actually sounds like is “flibba wollsa taark kashyyyk, wad me win id wad me ro, supahmandatho, hurrby q’apla so po”
For more information about Souljah Boy, please watch this video.
I spent a lot of time on homework this weekend. I’ve got exams and papers coming up on the schedule like nobody’s business.
I installed a new shower head last week, but it was leaking like crazy and never really looked right, so I took it back and bought a different one. The plumbing gene does not run in my family, and I’m no exception. However, the Moen shower head installed in literally 30 seconds and even came with it’s own thread-seal-tape stuff. I highly recommend them.
I played a lot of NiGHTS for Wii this weekend (it’s been shelved for a while because of Super Mario Galaxy). I have to say that the more I play this game, the more I agree with the mediocre reviews that the game got. Unlike the Saturn version, this game tries to be too many things. Instead of just solid, unique NiGHTS gameplay, you also get some ‘vehicle’ levels and platforming levels that don’t even involve NiGHTS. The cinematics and story are kinda creepy, sappy, and make me uncomfortable (like the Elebits story). However, I think the potential is there for a real break-out sequel that’s comparable in quality to the original if Sonic Team learns from their mistakes. And don’t get me wrong–the plain old NiGHTS levels are great fun.
With a new year comes a new bunch of games, especially for the Xbox 360 and Wii. Out of all the games that have been announced or alluded to so far, there are a select few that I’m actually looking forward to.
Here’s my list. What’s on yours?
- Harvey Birdman (Wii). This is a Phoenix Wright knock-off (by Capcom). I love the show, and my wife put in a preorder for me, so I will be checking this one out.
- GTA 4 (360). Who doesn’t want to play a new GTA? Although, this could be the beginning of the end for the franchise if they don’t nail it.
- Boom Blox (Wii). This is a Jenga-like game supposedly involving Steven Spielberg somehow.
- MLB2K8 (Wii and 360). I really liked 2K7, and I can’t wait to check this out on both systems.
- Sports Island (Wii). This is Konami’s attempt at a Wii Sports-like game, with a large collection of different sports.
- Mario Kart (Wii). Not a big fan of Mario Kart outside the SNES/GBA versions, but we’ll see. Online play could make this pretty cool.
- Dragon Quest Swords (Wii). This could be a big hit for the Wii: a FPS RPG “on rails” could be a lot of fun. So far, this is the title I’m looking forward to the most on Wii in 2008.
- Wii Music. If they still release it to the US. Could be a fun little rhythm game.
- Endless Ocean (Wii). This game could be a lot of fun or a real snooze. Think Pokemon Snap, but underwater, and…without Pokemon.
- Lost (360). Starved for Lost content, and only getting small amounts at a time makes me hungry for any scrap of new Lost I can find. The Lost guys are working on this game, so at least the story should be okay.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Wii). Or whatever game has the Wii lightsaber battles. Yeah, that’s what the Wii was made for.
- Star Wars Battlefront III (360). The first two were pretty good, and I like Star Wars.
- Portal. I am starving for new Portal content. Portal is such a good game, that I would seriously consider getting a PS3 if that’s what it took to play some new Portal (kidding!). There have been rumors of Portal coming to Wii, as well as expectations of downloadable content for Portal. Either one (or both) would be fantasic.
I got a whole stack of games for Christmas this year, and I’ve spent a lot of time playing them instead of blogging.
So now you get to read my “mini-reviews” of the games that I received.
NiGHTS Journey of Dreams. I’ve been anticipating this game since the rumors first broke. I haven’t played much of it yet, but my experience is a positive one. If you liked NiGHTS on Saturn, this is not that much of a radical departure. All the reviews have mentioned that the cinematics can’t be skipped, which is quite annoying. I haven’t tried the motion controls yet, since the game itself recommends using standard analog joystick controls. Verdict: Good.
Super Mario Galaxy. My expectations were not very high since I’m not a big fan of 3d platforming to begin with, and Super Mario Sunshine wasn’t outstanding. I was extremely suprised to find an incredible masterpiece of a game. This game easily deserves the glowing reviews that it’s getting. This is easily the best Super Mario game in a long time, and surpasses Sunshine by parsecs. Verdict: Must play!.
Beautiful Katamari. I never got to play the original Katamari very much, so this is my first opportunity to cut loose on this game. It’s suprisingly challenging. The game is very unique and fun. The game’s sense of humor makes the game even more enjoyable. There’s plenty of replay value here, but this game probably isn’t for everyone. I recommend playing the demo a few times to see if it’s right for you. Verdict: Good.
Elebits. I already reviewed Elebits when I rented it. Now I own it. Enough said. Verdict: Good.
Carnival Games. This is a mini-game collection for Wii from Rockstar. The graphics are horrendous, and the voice acting is comical (maybe on purpose?). However, there is a large variety of games to play, and lots of unlockables and stuff to make this a fun game for multiple players or parties. Verdict: Great casual game.
Game Party. This is another mini-game collection in the “budget” category. The graphics are even cheaper that Carnival Games, but the sound effects and music are suprisingly good. The real gem of this game is the Trivia mini-game which is really fast to pick up and play (up to 4 players). The other games range from so-so to good. Verdict: Good casual game for the price.
Alien Syndrome. This is an overhead shooter from Sega based on the 1986 arcade title. It’s an overhead arcade-style shooter. I haven’t played it much, but there is some potential here. I think a multiplayer Alien Syndrome is where it probably shines the most. The conrols are pretty tight: analog controls movement, Wiimote pointer controls aim. It has a Gauntlet/Smash TV feel to it. There are some mini-games that interrupt regular gameplay that I haven’t quite figured out the point to yet. Verdict: Rent if you like arcade shooting.
If you recall, the first Xbox 360 game that I bought (besides XBLA games) was Blazing Angels. The game got average-to-poor reviews, but I really enjoyed it.
I also tried to rent Blazing Angels for Wii multiple times, but was thwarted. However, I recently picked it up on sale. So yes, I now own two copies of the same game for multiple systems.
I think if you like Blazing Angels for 360, you’ll like it for Wii. Ubisoft made bad decisions on both versions, so I guess it’s a “pick your poison” situation, since both versions have weaknesses. Here’s a brief rundown of the differences of the Wii version as compared to the 360 version:
- Two new missions (Georgia & North Sea). The Georgia mission is a really good idea (protecting and assisting multiple ground divisions on multiple islands), but Ubisoft either biffed the programming or made a bad decision here. Because of the sheer amount of targets in the Georgia mission, there is noticeable slowdown, which sucks. I haven’t got to the North Sea mission yet.
- 10 new planes. This includes the awesome F-82 Twin Mustang.
- There are subtle differences in many of the other missions. For instance, on Guadalcanal, when you have to land and switch planes, you get hit by flak (part of the mission) which makes it much harder to land. The first Normandy mission is considerably harder with faster advancing ground targets.
- I didn’t think it would be possible to make the “sandstorm” mission any more annoying, but Ubisoft did just that with the Wii version. Instead of listening to the Germans banter (in English) over the radio, you get a wonderfully loud, piercing stream of morse code for the whole mission that cannot be turned off. I turned off my stereo. In exchange, it’s easier to find the German bases with an on-screen indicator/radar thing. And thankfully, I achieved Ace rank on the first try, so I will never, ever have to play it again. Honestly, this mission should have been excluded from all versions of the game.
- In most campaign missions, you can choose which plane to use. Why anyone would turn down the Spitfire V and/or P-51 for any campaign given the opportunity is beyond me. So yeah, you can fly Spitfires and Stukas against Zeros if you want.
- The controls are obviously the biggest difference. You can choose between 5 control schemes. My favorite is the Wiimote motion to control direction with the nunchuck for throttle/weapons. Additionally, I switch hands because I was so used to the 360 controls. This seems to work fine, though it takes a half-dozen missions and ace battles to really get the hang of motion controls.
- The graphics are significantly worse than the 360. The planes still look fine, but in general the game looks more jagged. I probably wouldn’t have noticed this if I hadn’t played the 360 game first.
- There’s no online play. (The 360 version has online play, but good luck finding opponents).
- The voice acting was redone, for whatever reason. The script is largely the same, but now Germans speak German and Japanese speak Japanese. So there’s less stereotyping, and more realism. Fine. Your wingmen have less exaggerated accents as well, and your player has a large speaking role in this game as a sort of narrator, as well as an in-game persona.
- There’s a cockpit view. I found this completely worthless as I do with every other air combat game, but some people like it.
So there you have it. I highly recommend it if you like air combat and have a Wii.