Archive for May, 2008

Nintendo Power secret revealed


img_0265.JPGIn a follow up to last month’s teasing issue, Nintendo Power has let loose the info on the “shocker” title in this months mag. It’s not Kid Icarus, Harvest Moon, Earthbound, or even Star Fox. It’s the one…the only…Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the DS! (*Silence*) Would have been great news had we not of known about this over a month ago. Don’t get me wrong. A new Castlevania game for the DS is great. Just not quite the answer to fanboy hype we were all expecting.

Just when you thought one long month of pointless speculation was finished here’s a new tidbit to chew on. Once again NP teases with an answer to a reader question concerning the best DS game of all time…

The team here at NP does indeed discuss these kind of important issues all the time – our talks usually end with someone getting poked in the eye or bitten. On this subject, keep an eye out for something really big next issue… if all of us are still in one piece by then.”

I’m not even going to take a swing at it this time. At the news speed Nintendo Power runs at it could be the recently rated ASH finally making it to US shores.

Come on NP! Start using that mysterious witchcraft the hip kids call “internet”.

Thanks, David

Published on May 31st, 2008 under

Capcom planning “something like” Bionic Commando for Wii


mystery.jpgCapcom’s own Christian Svensson suggested today in an interview with N-Europe that Capcom may have plans to bring “something like” Lost Planet or Bionic Commando to Wii.

Vague enough? Here’s the quote:

N-Europe: Are we going to see Bionic Commando, Lost Planet or something like this on the Wii?

Svensson: Possible…the “or something like this” part we could talk about in a couple weeks perhaps.

Expect an announcement at or prior to E3. Until then, Infendo sleuths, I beseech you; what could this mysterious game be?

Published on May 31st, 2008 under ,

Super Mario RPG to Japanese VC


Super Mario RPG
It seems that the Japanese Virtual Console is getting another classic game before we do. Does that mean there is a chance for this to be released here any time soon? What many people don’t know is that Super Mario RPG has a dark history, and it all has to do with Square. Since Nintendo licensed the game to Square to develop, Square actually wrote up the story and owns a majority of the rights. Mostly the characters, story, and music in the game that have nothing to do with the Mario franchise. However, since it is seeing a release on the VC in Japan, it looks like Nintendo and Square might have finally come to a deal. Here’s hoping that we might actually see the title on our shores sometime soon.

[via Japan’s Virtual Console]

Published on May 31st, 2008 under , ,

Download Darkrai to your DS at ToysRUs on May 31 and June 1


Legendary Pokemon Darkrai
Pokemon USA is giving you the chance to receive the Legendary Pokemon Darkrai, during a two-day download event at Toys”R”Us stores nationwide from 12 noon – 4 pm on May 31th and June 1st, 2008. Bring your Pokemon Diamond or Pokemon Pearl game, along with your Nintendo DS, to any Toys”R”Us store in the United States to add one of the most sought-after characters in the Pokemon Universe, Darkrai, to your game.

Darkrai, best-known for lulling people to sleep and causing nightmares, is the star of the latest movie, Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai, and is featured in the new Pokemon Trading Card Game Diamond & Pearl-Majestic Dawn.

Who: All Pokémon fans
What: Darkrai distribution for your Pokémon Diamond or Pokémon Pearl Game Card
When: May 31 and June 1, 12 noon – 4 pm
Where: Toys”R”Us stores all over America

Darkrai is No. 491 in the National Pokedex
Type: Dark
Height: 4′11″
Weight: 111.3 lbs
Ability: Bad Dreams, Dark Pulse, and Dark Void can put two opponents to sleep at once.

Published on May 31st, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , ,

If not free, would you’ve bought Wii Sports?


225_wii-sports-wallpaper.jpgWii Sports reached yet another milestone this week, surpassing 3 million copies sold in Japan.

It seems Wii sales figures are always in the headlines, so this figure really doesn’t seem too interesting initially. But realize in Japan, Wii Sports was not a free pack-in with the console.

In the Land of the Rising Sun, Wii Sports is sold separately for 4,800 yen, roughly 45 dollars. Consider that the Wii console has sold 6 million units in Japan; simple division provides that about 1 in 2 Japanese Wii owners has plucked down the cash for Wii Sports.

But would that happen in the States? Many American critics slammed Wii Sports for being too shallow, some going as far as to call it an “overly publicized demo” (EGM, Jan. 2007). So I decided to revisit Wii Sports and find out; would I have purchased the game at launch, or is Wii Sports’ charm wholly derived from its Western freeness?

It is perhaps worth mentioning what could be a disclaimer, depending on your levels of cynicism. I loved the idea of tracking of my fitness age when I first played Wii Sports, and I have continued to do so on a semi-daily basis since. Every three or four days, I play Wii Sports for roughly 7 or 8 minutes. I load the game, complete three mini-fitness tests, check out my newly calculated age and resulting charts, head back to the Wii Menu and go about my gaming business.

So granted, my Wii Sports disc certainly isn’t a dusty relic with which I relate only through memory, the type of situation from which most game revisits occur. But aside from those few minutes a week, I have not really dug into a Wii Sports play session since last year.

Until today, that is. As soon as I had finished my fitness age tests, I started playing tennis.

I was surprised to see my skill level for tennis; I still had “pro” status, not to mention a skill level of more than 1900. And after only a few swings of my racket, I immediately got my virtual tennis groove back. I beat the feisty CPU team of Sarah and Elisa, and then remembered I had gotten to the point in Wii Sports tennis that Sarah and Elisa were the only team left to play. No matter how many times I beat Sarah and Elisa, I would be forced to play them again next time.

My favorite Wii sport for single-player outings, though, is still baseball. Unlike in tennis, progressing against CPU-controlled teams is quite challenging, and scraping together enough runs to beat them through three innings is very rewarding. Motion-controlled pitching and batting is still ridiculously fun, too. Slamming a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the third inning with a quick swing of the Wii remote is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in a video game. For a moment, you really feel like a triumphant Gary Sheffield or Andy Van Slyke (I’m from Pittsburgh, deal with it). But for all its greatness, Wii Sports baseball also makes me yearn for a deeper baseball experience on Wii built from the same mechanics.

Mario Super Sluggers, I’m looking at you.

I also really enjoyed golf and bowling, the two slowest, most relaxing games in the package. They still provide a welcome contrast from the tense challenge of baseball and the fast-paced swinging of tennis. But in terms of their single-player versions, they are merely practice sessions for their excellent multiplayer modes.

Speaking of multiplayer, that is where Wii Sports still shines and, quite obviously, what it was primarily made for. Each of the included games, even the otherwise mediocre boxing, is an absolute blast with multiplayer. I invited some friends over for another Wii get-together to give the five Wii Sports games some multiplayer runs, and a play session I expected to be an hour or so long quickly extended itself into a three-hour Wii Sports marathon, circa Dec. 2006.

Despite the imitators that have come since, Wii Sports remains one of Wii’s best examples of motion control implementation. Swinging the Wii remote like a tennis racket, complete with spins and twists of the wrist for angled shots, still works beautifully. Pitching a baseball works well, too, and smacking homers still feels spectacular. Bowling is perhaps the best motion-controlled sport of the bunch, with spinning and speed all determined by the players’ release.

After revisiting Wii Sports, it is easy to see why so many games have struggled to emulate what it achieved. It just did it so damn well.

Most of what I’m writing is likely prior knowledge to most, as Wii Sports has been so well-chronicled over the last few years. But there is something inexplicably magical about playing Wii’s premier launch title. As a critic, I could slam Wii Sports for a list of standard grievances a mile long, but in the end, they just don’t seem to matter. One swing of the Wii remote is all it takes to understand.

Or in this case, remember.

But would I have bought this game? Would you have? Even playing through it again didn’t have me entirely convinced that I would be willing to spend 45 dollars on such a shallow package. But browsing my Wii message board afterward, I found countless posts from Wii Sports — a 55 fitness age from a friend here, a terrible +4 golfing high score from another there — that brought back a flood of memories from midnight-and-beyond bowling and tennis sessions with friends over the last few years…all from a “tech demo.”

For the countless laughs and dozens of good times it has provided, 45 dollars seems a steal for a game like Wii Sports. Free pack-in or otherwise, this is a game I would have owned either way.

But would you have bought Wii Sports?

Published on May 31st, 2008 under , ,

New Resident Evil 5 Trailer


It looks like a high def version of Resi 4 but I’m not complaining. Resi 5 is going to be a fantastic game and I can’t wait for it.

It will be interesting to see how they implement any online elements into the Resi 5 universe. I hope the rumours are true about it possibly being released this November.

New Resident Evil 5 Trailer

Published on May 31st, 2008 under , ,

Your Wit vs Your Wager Contest Winners


The answer to the question posed for a chance to win a copy of Xbox Live Arcade title Wits and Wagers is:

Up until this post, the Xbox Domain had logged 3,521 posts.

Without going over, here are the top 3.

  1. Bob Walters with 3,521 exactly. How it was done is a mystery. You get a copy of the XBLA version of Wits and Wagers and a copy of the board game of which the XBLA version is based on as well.
  2. Indiana Hoosier with 2,500. You get a copy of the XBLA version of Wits and Wagers.
  3. GamjawanG with 2324. You to get a copy of the XBLA version of Wits and Wagers.

Congratulations to the winners, and a big thanks to North Star Games for providing the prizes.

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

Top 5 game sales per system worldwide in week 22, 2008


What are the best-selling games in America, Japan, and Europe (UK) this week? Thanks to Amazon online sales data here are the games that are the most popular now.

Nintendo Wii
Mario Kart Wii for WiiNorth America: 1. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo), 2. Wii Fit (Nintendo), 3. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle (Activision), 4. Wii Play (Nintendo), 5. We Ski (Namco Bandai).

Japan: 1. Family Trainer (Bandai), 2. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo), 3. Wii Fit (Nintendo), 4. Link no Bowgun Training + Wii Zapper (Nintendo), 5. Totsugeki!! Famicom Wars VS (Nintendo).

Europe: 1. Wii Play (Nintendo), 2. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo), 3. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Sega), 4. Wii Fit (Nintendo), 5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Konami).

Xbox 360
Modern Warfare -- Game of the Year Edition for Xbox 360North America: 1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare — Game of the Year Edition (Activision), 2. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 — Limited Edition (Ubisoft), 3. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar), 4. Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action (Microsoft), 5. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle (Activision).

Japan: 1. Lost Planet: Colonies (Capcom), 2. Overlord (Microsoft), 3. The Orange Box (EA Games), 4. Battle Fantasia (Arc System Works), 5. The Idolm@ster: Live for You! (Namco).

Europe: 1. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar), 2. Rock Band (EA Games), 3. Halo 3 (Microsoft), 4. The Orange Box (EA Games), 5. Race Driver: GRID (Codemasters).

PlayStation 3
Grand Theft Auto IV for PS3North America: 1. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar), 2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle (Activision), 3. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (SCEA), 4. Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft), 5. Rock Band Special Edition (EA Games).

Japan: 1. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (Ubisoft), 2. Senjou no Valkyria (Sega), 3. Turok (Touchstone), 4. Battle Fantasia (Arc System Works), 5. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision).

Europe: 1. Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar), 2. Haze (Ubisoft), 3. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (SCEE), 4. Race Driver: GRID (Codemasters), 5. Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft).

PlayStation 2
Legends of Rock Bundle for PS2North America: 1. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle (Activision), 2. Rock Band Special Edition (EA Games), 3. Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection (Konami), 4. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (Atlus), 5. God of War II (SCEA).

Japan:1. Beatmania IIDX 14: GOLD (Konami), 2. Togainu no Chi: True Blood — DX Pack (Kadokawa Shoten), 3. Mana Khemia 2: Ochita Gakuen to Renkinjutsushi Tachi (Gust), 4. D.C. II P.S.: Da Capo II Plus Situation (Kadokawa Shoten), 5. D.C. II P.S.: Da Capo II Plus Situation — DX Pack (Kadokawa Shoten).

Europe: 1. FIFA 08 (EA Sports), 2. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Konami), 3. Shadow of the Colossus (SCEE), 4. Guitar Hero II (Activision), 5. SingStar Summer Party (SCEE).

Hyborian Adventures -- Collector's Edition for PCNorth America: 1. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures — Collector’s Edition (Eidos), 2. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Eidos), 3. Mass Effect (EA Games), 4. The Orange Box (EA Games), 5. Sins of a Solar Empire (Stardock).

Japan: 1. Akatsuki no Amaneka to Aoi Kyojin (Kogado Studio), 2. Final Fantasy XI: Vana’diel Collection (Square Enix), 3. Clannad Full Voice (Key), 4. Final Fantasy XI: Altana no Kamihei (Square Enix), 5. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision).

Europe: 1. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Eidos), 2. The Sims 2 (EA Games), 3. Race Driver: GRID (Codemasters), 4. Football Manager 2008 (Sega), 5. Medieval II: Total War Gold Edition (Sega).

Nintendo DS
Brain Age for DSNorth America: 1. Brain Age (Nintendo), 2. Brain Age 2 (Nintendo), 3. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo), 4. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo), 5. My Word Coach (Ubisoft).

Japan: 1. Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga (Banpresto), 2. Kuukan * Zukei: Hirameki Training – KuuTore (Benesse), 3. Lux-Pain (Marvelous), 4. Fushigi? Kagaku: Nazotoki Quiz Training – NazoTore (Benesse), 5. DS Bimoji Training (Nintendo).

Europe: 1. Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training (Nintendo), 2. MySims (EA Games), 3. Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends (505 Games), 4. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo), 5. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Sega).

PlayStation Portable
Final Fantasy VII for PSPNorth America: 1. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (Square Enix), 2. God of War: Chains of Olympus (SCEA), 3. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Konami), 4. Patapon (SCEA), 5. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (Rockstar).

Japan: 1. Clannad (Prototype), 2. Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu Portable 3 (Konami), 3. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (Capcom), 4. Valhalla Knights 2 (Marvelous), 5. Maplus Portable Navi 2 (Edia).

Europe: 1. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Konami), 2. God of War: Chains of Olympus (SCEA), 3. FIFA 08 (EA Sports), 4. Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 (EA Games), 5. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories — Platinum (Rockstar).

Mario Kart Wii remains number one in the Wii chart. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare — Game of the Year Edition shoots for the first spot on the Xbox 360 chart. On the PS3 chart Grand Theft Auto IV rules supreme. The lowered price of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Bundle on the PS2 does sales good. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures — Collector’s Edition returns to the PC top spot. Brain Age returns to the DS list. And lastly Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII returns to claim its rightful seat on the PSP chart after an Amazon price drop. — More analysis at Gamasutra.

Wii Fit video review


Wii Fit with Balance Board for WiiThe hit combination of Wii Sports and the Wii Remote brought golf swings and tennis serves into people’s homes. Now Nintendo turns the living room into a fitness center for the whole family with Wii Fit and the Wii Balance Board. Family members will have fun getting a “core” workout, and talking about and comparing their results and progress on a new channel on the Wii Menu.

Lean to block soccer balls, swivel hips to power hoop twirls or balance to hold the perfect yoga pose. As users stand on the Wii Balance Board, included with Wii Fit, their body’s overall balance is tied to the game in a way they’ve never experienced before. Wii Fit also uses the Wii Balance Board for daily tests. These evaluate two key measures that a household can track via progress charts.

Including over 40 different activities, virtual personal trainers, and the all-new Wii Balance Board, is it a bunch of posturing or is there some real muscle behind it? Find out in this Wii Fit video review:

I wanted to buy Wii Fit to get some exergaming going and review it, but it was sold out in stores everywhere right away. The estimated waiting time for it to be back in stock is many weeks, so much like the Wii, I’d reserve it if you want it.

To quote the video review: “Games like Dance Dance Revolution have been getting people in shape for years, but the fitness aspect always took a back seat to the fun. Now Nintendo is putting your body mass index first with Wii Fit. It’s not a new idea, but the Wii Balance Board makes Wii Fit feel fresh. It’s a cool peripheral that will undoubtedly have many interesting uses ahead. It falls short of making exercising fun, but the positive reinforcement and virtual trainers certainly make it easier to get motivated.”

Design — 7.5
Gameplay — 7.8
Presentation — 6.2
Overall — 7.7

PS: Don’t forget to take a look at Nintendo’s Wii Fit walkthrough videos for more info on separate games.

Deca Sports video review


Deca Sports for WiiCombining ten sporting events into one addicting and fun-filled game, Deca Sports offers various events like: Beach Volleyball, Snowboard Cross, Badminton, Basketball, Curling, Figure Skating, Archery, Supercross, Soccer and Kart Racing.

Each sport in the game uses the Wii Remote. With a subtle swing of the Wii Remote players can hit and spike the ball in Beach Volleyball, while twists of the wrist produce a wild ride down the slopes in Snowboard Cross. In Figure Skating players need to keep to the music and properly time all of their jumps and spins in order to impress the judges while passing the ball and lining up shots is essential in Soccer. All ten sports support both single player and multiplayer modes, in addition to a training mode to practice essential skills.

Move your body, or not, in this Deca Sports video review:

To quote the video review: “Wii Sports has long been a dominating force in showing off the versatility of the Wii’s remote and nunchuck. The playability across its five events has made it a part of pop culture lexicon. It also has the advantage of being free. It was only a matter of time before the imitators showed up and recently Sega and EA have both taken a stab at the formula with mixed results. Next up is Hudson’s Deca Sports. Featuring an odd mix of events, where does it fall in the pecking order of athletic endeavors on the Wii?

Wii Sports is still the reigning champion when it comes to party sports games. Deca Sports is, if anything, a distraction, and worth renting if friends are coming over. Those with sore elbows from Wii Sports addiction will be enticed by its discounted price, but keep going for the cross-court winner while the wait goes on for a successor.”

Design — 7.0
Gameplay — 5.0
Presentation — 5.0
Overall — 5.8

Published on May 31st, 2008 under , , , , , , , , ,

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