Etrian Odyssey IV Announced for 3DS

Well, Nintendo did say the Etrian Odyssey series was one of those that would be getting a new game on the 3DS back in 2010, and now it seems like such a game is confirmed to be coming in the future!

It’s Japanese full title is ‘Sekaiju no Meikyuu IV: Densetsu no Kyojin’.  No idea what this means, I only recognise the Densetsu bit from far too many other Japanese games title to list.

However, we do know about some of the game’s content. It’ll have difficulty levels to make the game more accessible to newcomers, including a casual mode.  This can apparently be changed at any time during gameplay if the person playing wants a bit more of a challenge (or I guess struggling with the default settings).  Nice idea, although I do think it somewhat cheapens the whole purpose of choosing a difficulty level to begin with.

And there are some job classes known about, such as sword man, medic, dancer, and sniper.

So, that said, is anyone excited for this game?  Because while I’ve not played any games in the series, it does seem like the games have been fairly well received by critics and players alike, and the addition of an easier difficulty setting might address the major problem some sources complain about, that of it being too difficult/only for the hardcore.


Why The 3DS is not doomed by the iPad/Tablets/Social Games

1. Nintendo’s Games are only available on Nintendo

In my opinion, the number one big problem with all arguments about Nintendo being doomed or made obsolete, and the biggest advantage Nintendo has on its competitors is that Nintendo makes both its own hardware and its own software.

Sure, Microsoft and Sony have some first party series, and Microsoft owns Rare (who’s gone downhill recently and been relegated to making avatar starring games for the Kinect).  But by and large, all their best sellers are from third parties.  If Activision says Call of Duty isn’t coming to the Xbox 720 or Rockstar says Grand Theft Auto isn’t coming to the PS4, those consoles are pretty much in trouble.

And that’s the difference which explains why Sony and Microsoft might be in trouble of being disrupted by tablets and cheap downloadable games, but Nintendo aren’t’.  Those big third party titles can very easily be moved to the app store if the publisher for them wants them to be, and neither Microsoft or Sony, short of giving the company millions to get the game as an exclusive, can do nothing about it.  And believe you me it’ll happen eventually, since these cheap games are what the big game publisher’s business minds think are the next big thing, the replacement to video game consoles.

But this won’t affect Nintendo.  Nintendo can simply not release Mario, or Zelda, or Pokemon or whatever else they make on the app store, and people have no choice but to buy their consoles to play them.  Sure they’ll maybe annoy a few investors and be seen as crazy by the business community, but that’s Nintendo’s major advantage.  Look ahead at the 3DS games and all the good titles we’re getting that can be found NOWHERE else:

  • New 2D Mario title
  • Kid Icarus Uprising
  • Super Smash Bros
  • Luigi’s Mansion 2
  • Paper Mario
  • Animal Crossing
  • Fire Emblem
  • Mario Tennis
  • And most likely, Pokemon

You want those games, you’ll need to own a 3DS.  No ifs or buts.  And in a world where every new Mario game sells over 10 million copies and Pokemon breaks video game sales records in two days, that’s one advantage Nintendo won’t be losing any time soon.

2. Some games only work well on proper consoles

Have you ever tried to play a game on a device with only a touch screen?  It’s not an optimal solution for a control scheme, and many, many genres just simply do not work with it.  Here are some genres where this is the case:

Racing Games

Okay, maybe comparing Mario Kart to its pirated equivalent Mole Kart isn’t fair.  But considering the games are pretty much the exact same thing bar a few barely edited graphics and some extremely shoddy physics in the latter, it’s a good illustration of how touch screen controls really don’t work with racing games:

Look at it here:

First thing you’ll notice is that the guy who’s playing has to move his thumb on some kind of impromptu D Pad to the bottom left.  Which for starters, completely blocks out a fair amount of the screen and leaves you open to any opponents or items that might happen to be coming from the bottom left of the track.  There’s a good reason most DS games which used touch controls didn’t make you view the game world on the touch screen, and that’s because it drastically hampers your ability to see what’s going on.

You’ve also got the issue that without buttons, game designers have to add their own home made controls to the touch screen.  Try using them, and that’s just almost unnatural, to have to reach random parts of the screen and tap them to use various abilities in the middle of a race.  Basically, it’s much easier and more much intuitive to press a button.  Sure you can theoretically do a lot of fancy stuff with only a touch screen, but it just seems like to do so is basically trying to use WarioWare style microgame controls for a retail title.

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New Super Mario Bros 3DS; My Predictions

True, there’s already been a post devoted to my wishlist for New Super Mario Bros 3DS.  But as anyone who read it should have figured out, the list was very much a best case scenario, what the game would have if by some miracle Nintendo gave us the perfect 2D Mario game.

Unfortunately, Nintendo isn’t a perfect company, and the New Super Mario Bros games were certainly not perfect games, having shown signs of less effort being invested in them than the 3D ones and with some questionable design decisions (more so in the DS original than the Wii one).

So here’s a realistic list of things I think Nintendo will have in the next 2D Mario game.  And by realistic, I mean that if this list turns out to be completely wrong I will be shocked.

1. It will be a New Super Mario Bros game

Because the last two 2D Mario platformers have been New Super Mario Bros games, and it seems Nintendo is desperate to keep using the brand for everything and anything (note how the visual stylings and general theme of these games is now running through the 3D games, Mario Kart and even Paper Mario).  I assume Nintendo will do the same for the upcoming 2D game.  Maybe they’ll call it New Super Mario World, maybe not, but I fully expect them to keep using the brand simply because of customer confidence and brand recognition.

2. A Super Mario World theme will run throughout and Reznor will return

Look at past history a few minutes, there’s gradually been more and more ‘retro’ elements reintroduced as the series has moved on, whether in the 2D games or the 3D ones.  New Super Mario Bros introduced flagpoles and the general 2D concept, Super Mario Galaxy airships and Magikoopas.  New Super Mario Bros Wii brought back the Koopalings and Yoshi, Super Mario Galaxy 2 Hammer Bros and Super Mario 3D Land Boom Boom.

The general pattern is that near enough every single 2D Mario platformer element that fans have wanted have made a return, so by process of elimination only Reznor, Chargin’ Chuck and Fishin’ Boo are really left as far as enemies go.

Not that these are the only things they could bring back.  The Hammer Suit, the Cape and the P Balloon are also left, and given the general pattern of bringing back one classic power up per Mario game, I think one of those seems likely to be in this game as well.  Probably either the Cape or Hammer Suit really, they’re much better things to use to advertise than the P Balloon with its memories of the dreaded Tubular.

Although… is this a good thing?  I’m not sure.  Reznor would make a nice boss for a few fortresses or maybe a single castle, but given Nintendo’s tendencies of cramming the new ‘boss character’ of the moment in nigh on every single level with a boss in it, do we really want to fight Reznor seven times?

The Super Mario World theme in general seems to be another given, since they’ve practically beaten the Super Mario Bros 3 horse to death by now, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before Nintendo ever thinks to revisit Super Mario Bros 2 or the Lost Levels.

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Nintendo’s being clever with the Nintendo Direct Timing

Note what else launches on the exact same day, the Playstation Vita.  Obviously, Nintendo knows this minor detail and hence decided to have another presentation/conference tomorrow to make sure people didn’t buy the Vita or think there wasn’t anything interesting left on the 3DS.

Now I admit they could have done one better and actually released a new game tomorrow as well (that new 2D Mario game would be a really good choice), but kudos to Nintendo for finding a way to put the pressure on Sony right at the Vita’s launch date.