Guild 01 Liberation Girl Screenshots

Just some new screenshots of Guild 01 Liberation Girl, a new 3DS game that was announced fairly recent.  Some artwork too.

Finally, some official art (as little as there is for this game):

Not sure about this one to be honest.  The official art looks fairly nice, but I don’t think the screenshots really interest me in the slightest, and the quality of the graphics seems quite average for a 3DS title.  Plus, gameplay wise, a shoot em up type game is a bit old hat, don’t you think?

Still, could be a decent game.  What do you think?

‘Interesting’ New 3DS Commercials

Interesting being the right word here, because how unnatural they look/sound actually nearly made me die of laughter rather than wanting the games advertised (although I do already own both Mario Kart 7 and Mario 3D Land, so it’s not too bad).

First of all, the Mario Kart 7 one.  I can’t say anything other than wow at Nintendo outright insulting their fanbase.  I mean, the very first sentence is about how people playing online are so tough to beat and must be IT guys who play Mario Kart all day.  They’ve pretty gone and mocked the forum population…

Cue the cut to some school girls in Japan talking about whether they should let these people win or keep beating them at Mario Kart.  I have to admit, by this point an awful lot of Mario Kart fans would probably sympathise, given how you can’t go a week on some sites without hearing how ‘Japanese gamers gang up on Westerners’ or something of that nature.  I guess you could say it’s sort of an accurate portrayal of what some GameFAQs users think of Mario Kart 7 as like…

Still, bit of an embarassing commercial, don’t you think?

Next up, the awkward one for Super Mario 3D Land.  Two things strike me as rather weird here, namely, why the hell are they advertising this alongside Resident Evil in the same commercial?  As much as both games are supposedly really good, they don’t at all share the same audience and it just seems rather jarring to cut between Mario footage and Resident Evil footage in minutes.

I don’t know what sounds more ridiculous, the fact two actors are trying to compare a Mario platformer to a survival horror game and talking about shotguns and fireballs in the same sentence, or the fact one actress randomly goes shouting out about bullets with faces as if it’s ‘totally radical’.  Yeah, that’s how normal life works Nintendo, we go around comparing Mario to Resident Evil with a bunch of friends while standing around in the kitchen.  It’s just so corny as to be hilarious.

Still, hope you enjoy these commercials, I’d say both fall squarely into ‘so bad its good’ and both made me laugh at them rather than want to buy any games…

Could the 3DS to Wii U Connectivity possibly solve the biggest problem of handheld multiplayer games?

As similar as home consoles and handhelds are getting these days with the increase in tech power and capability of running very similar games on either, it has to be said that some games don’t work on one type of system. Pokemon for instance and other heavily personalised games tend to do better on a handheld like the 3DS, Mario Kart and Smash Bros style ‘party’ games on a home console like the Wii.  But could a possible 3DS to Wii U connectivity feature solve this problem?

So what is the problem here with multiplayer games on handheld consoles?  Well truth be told, its the general impracticality of setting up multiplayer matches offline.  If you want to play say, Mario Kart Wii with three friends at your next party, that’s fairly simple and inexpensive to do.  You just buy three more controllers, plug them in and everyone can gather around and play with the minimum amount of fuss.

But for a handheld and playing Mario Kart 7?  Well, that makes it ten times more difficult.  You need at least one console for everyone playing, you need the standard copy of the game (or four if you want the full experience and everyone to play as someone other than Shy Guy) and all in all, it’s much more difficult to set up and much more costly to boot.

And I’m not exaggerating cost wise. Three video game controllers? That’s fairly cheap at a total price of about $100, assuming the controllers are about the price of a brand new Wii remote.  But for three whole 3DS consoles, that’s well over $500, which is way outside of the reasonable price range for a simple social gathering.  Not to mention, I’m not counting the cost of buying three more copies of Mario Kart 7, which can easily push the total sum over $600.

That’s not the only issue.  The other one is how so much content in multiplayer focused games is locked away at the start and only unlocked via either long hours spent playing the single player modes or even longer ones spent online.  So, you want everyone to have a fair chance when playing Mario Kart 7, as in the same characters and karts as everyone else? You need to beat 150cc with all gold cups on all four games, collect over 10 000 coins on all four games and get over 10 000 VR on all four games.  So for a simple Mario Kart 7 night or tournament, if people don’t have all the game and have it beaten, you need to spent over $600 on games and consoles and about two weeks trying to unlock everything on every single copy of the game you’ll be using.  Don’t Nintendo think that’s a bit overkill?

Now with that problem explained, here’s my solution:

Have it so the 3DS can connect to the Wii U, and with just a single copy of a 3DS multiplayer game you can play on the TV screen and any controllers attached.  Somehow the game would get streamed to the three Wii U controllers, and hence those without a 3DS could play a multiplayer game using the Wii U tablet as if it were a 3DS.

It’d be more conveniant, it’d be a lot more fun (for games without split screen like Super Smash Bros, it’d be far better to play them on the TV screen rather than looking down at the 3DS/tablet controller, and it’d be much cheaper for the unfortunate parents/friends/people who want to play with others they know offline.

Admittedly, Nintendo would be initially losing the price of the 3DS consoles and games, but I think the public opinion of the system and the games would be much better and well, maybe playing games like Mario Kart 7 on the Wii U would entice some people to go out and buy a 3DS where they wouldn’t have done so originally, giving Nintendo new customers and positive word of mouth.   Besides, what good is a multiplayer game in which you can’t find anyone to play it with?  Not everyone spends all their time playing online you know.

So, is this a good idea? Would allowing people to use some kind of 3DS to Wii U connectivity feature make it more fun when playing games like Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus Uprising and Super Smash Bros?

Some Thoughts on Luigi’s Mansion 2; What the Game Needs to be Successful

Out of all the upcoming 3DS games in 2012, I have to admit that Luigi’s Mansion 2 is one of the ones I’m most looking forward to.  I mean, Kid Icarus is nice (but an untested concept), Smash Bros is good but possibly not the best fit for a handheld game, and Paper Mario 3DS seems like it’s staying a little too close to the Nintendo 64 original stylistically, and perhaps is a more ‘wait and see’ type game.  But Luigi’s Mansion 2 interests me, because the original was one of my favourite Gamecube games.  And while it seems like the sequel will easily be even better than the original, there are a few things I think it should do in order to be a great game and overcome the original’s shortcomings.

1. Have more variety

And it immediately seems like it’ll accomplish this by having multiple themed mansions to explore.  Unfortunately though, this seems to highlight a bit of a problem with the original game, and heck, much of the Mario game library on the Gamecube… the localised areas they were set in by definition didn’t allow a great deal of variety.

In fact, you have to give Luigi’s Mansion 1 its due here, it did an incredible job of keeping the setting varied despite an extremely limited scope.  Yes it may have been small in compared to some real mansions, but most in the real world end up having multiple of every type of room, like say, ten bedrooms, five bathrooms, three or so lounge/sitting room type areas and multiple kitchens.  Luigi’s Mansion dodged that, even if it did have to make the mansion’s rooms seem awfully contrived at various times.  And you have to admit, the game did seem a tiny bit over the top as far as all the different rooms went.  Does anyone really have the varied types of rooms the original game had?  I can see people having a toy room, artists studio, armoury and billiards room, but I don’t think you’ll find many realistic houses having ALL of them at once.  Not to mention, the fortune tellers room, mirror room, secret shrine and safari room that don’t really seem to have much place in any traditional mansion.  People complain the game’s too short, but come on, there probably aren’t enough room types on the planet that could justify another four areas.

That’s why the idea of having multiple mansions with their own themes works so well, and why I’m not really too worried about each mansion being shorter than the one from the original game.

Here’s hoping for some more varied levels.  We already seem to have an egyptian style tomb with mummy like enemies and what seems to be an ice cave, so maybe we can also get a haunted town?  Or a haunted factory?  Maybe if they were going to mock survival horror more, a haunted boat/ship, considering the setting of Resident Evil Revelations.  Not to mention some of the classic horror locations not yet mentioned, like a creepy run down hotel or an abandoned hospital/mental asylum.

2. More variety in gameplay

Sadly, this is where the original game didn’t quite live up to expectations.  It was fun while it lasted, but I’d say the gameplay definitely got a bit samey as you got closer to the final boss, and you’d pretty much seen and done everything ‘new’ by the start of area 4. There were no elements or power ups, and after you’d conquered the blackout it felt like the game was practically done with you just clearing out the last few rooms left.

Ideally, the sequel needs more variety.  Not sure what that would entail (does the core gameplay of sucking up ghosts with the Poltergust have enough depth for a longer game?  Can the exploration/puzzle solving be taken much further?), but it needs to have the sort of variety found in other Mario games, where every new area introduces a new gimmick and where you’re still learning new things right up to the final boss.

Not that the final area was bad, I thought many of the final portrait ghosts you encountered were some of the best designed, most interesting characters in the game (and ones like Sir Weston, Vincent van Gore and King Boo are often cited as some of the more interesting ‘bosses’). But Luigi’s Mansion 2 can do even better.

3. Interesting enemies and bosses

You know how I mentioned how great the last few portrait ghosts were in Luigi’s Mansion?  Well I’d go even further and say that the characters were a definite strong point of the whole experience.  Not only did all the ghosts have a decent amount of character and more backstory than most other characters in the Mario series as a whole, I always felt they made the game stand out from most other Mario games.  You almost wonder what their backstories and previous lives were like before they became ghosts, and more to the point, they actually look like they actually were once alive unlike most other ghosts in the series.

That’s currently a problem I have with Luigi’s Mansion 2, at least from the various screenshots I’ve seen.  The generic ghosts lack the charm of the older ones, and the boss/portrait ghosts don’t even seem to look remotely human this time around, and hence don’t seem as interesting.  This is the one we’ve seen so far, who pretty much looks like an undead Toad:

I’m sorry, but he just seems so uninteresting as far as design goes. Sure, the original had some non human ghosts as well, like the guard dog Spooky, Boolossus, King Boo and Bogmire, but they had far more memorable designs than the guy above has. Maybe it’ll turn out he’s got an interesting backstory to explain the weird design, like how he was corrupted by his delusions and turned to dark magic, hence the strange designs that doesn’t seem too far from that of the normal ghosts.  Maybe it’ll turn out he created them like Van Gore did in the original.  But as of now, he seems boring.  More to the point, I kind of dread they’ll just go the generic ‘giant mook as boss’ route so many other Mario games went and take away much of the reason people liked Luigi’s Mansion in the first place.  I don’t just want ‘giant ghost’ in the same way Big Bob-omb is a giant Bob-omb and Big Bully is a giant Bully.

Considering having multiple mansions and areas that aren’t standard mansions as explorable areas is a feature of this game, I really hope they come up with some interesting portrait ghosts to go with them.

4. Atmospheric, excellent quality music

Another thing I think the original Luigi’s Mansion did fantastically was the music.  It was a bit more subtle and atmospheric than your standard upbeat Mario fare, and it really kept the game exciting to play. Heck, the music probably scared more people than the actual ghosts or ‘horror’ elements did…

Listen to the themes played in dark rooms or outside the mansion.  They not only fit the locations perfectly, but they really do keep you on guard at all times:

They’re just so different and arguably so much more interesting than your standard Mario music.  It’s why ever since Luigi’s Mansion, I’ve never particularly loved much of the music in standard Mario game haunted house levels because of how they seem almost too cheery for the area in question.  Not that I hate the music in Ghostly Galaxy, it’s just it doesn’t seem fitting:

Thankfully, Luigi’s Mansion 2 really looks to deliver here.  We haven’t heard much of the game’s music, but the stuff in gameplay videos seems to be low key enough as to keep the creepy mood going, and the trailer theme is excellent:

Here’s hoping the rest of the game’s music is at least the same quality, because a game like this really deserves the very best in background music.

In conclusion, I’m hoping for great music, more variety in levels, interesting ghosts and some more variety in the core gameplay and game mechanics, and those things would make the game into a definite classic.  What do you think Luigi’s Mansion 2 needs to be successful?