I wasn't going to write a blog this week. I haven't actually been playing any games, just been catching up on the early seasons of Adventure Time and working on that damn New Year's resolution of ensuring the wiki had a complete entry for every Famicom Disk System game that past-me thought was a good idea. That young but somehow familiar rogue has forever been a thorn in my side.
Then Nintendo decided to drop a huge amount of data in my lap this afternoon, causing a no doubt Nintentional on their part amount of internal turmoil (we in the psychology biz call this "inturmoil") about how I planned to buy and play this Ninundation of quality products, even though these games aren't exactly Ninnovative. I might call Nintendo's practice of releasing the same basic model of game over and over for ever-diminishing nostalgia circles "Ninimitable" if I didn't feel like I've made too many Nintendo puns for one lifetime in this paragraph alone. Maybe someone who hasn't barfed up their skeleton after reading all that wordplay is currently in the process of making a Concept page for the phenomenon.
So with that sobering stipulation in mind, let's break down these announcements one-by-one like the giddiest of children:
Link to the Past II: Link to the Slightly More Recent Past
Now this is a curious beast. I'm only guessing here, but I feel this game is intended to take after Link to the Past in the same way that Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks are meant to be continuations of Wind Waker. Or the two Oracle GBA games are to Link's Awakening, since the EU Nintendo Direct stream felt their imminent Virtual Console release was worth talking about. It's not like we're getting Game & Wario any time soon, so anything to fill space I suppose.
Anyway, the Oracle games aren't bad, and this new one doesn't look too bad either. My issue with sequelizing this Zelda in particular is that Link to the Past really doesn't have much a personality - like Ocarina of Time, it's more a culmination of everything that makes Zelda work. It's the quintessential Zelda: The nonpareil that every future Zelda game has had to find some way to deviate from in order to stand as a separate entity - to justify their existence. In most cases, this meant adopting some kind of subversive personality or quirk, and as much as I love Zelda III it doesn't really have that to the extent of Wind Waker's cel-shaded aesthetic or Majora's creepy vibe. I mean, what, Link turns into a pink bunny one time and Ganon's hiding inside a pyramid? Great.
Still, it looks cool, and with the exception of some certain CD-based entries I won't mention I haven't actually missed a Zelda game yet. Lord only knows why I keep coming back to those dungeons to get the same boomerang over and over. Consistently high quality visuals and precise gameplay in a colorful fantasy world filled with fun exploration and adventure? Fuck it, probably.
Donkey Kong Country Returns Returns with 3DS Rehash
But now they made it way easier? I feel like Elijah Wood in Back to the Future II, only I guess the reverse since games are increasingly becoming baby's toys in this case. Sure, DKCR was brutally difficult at times, and it wasn't exactly helped by how stages would throw the most random business at you to see how you'd react in much the same manner as this Monty Python skit, but DKC has always been predicated on being difficult as heck and requiring lightning reflexes from its not-so-humble beginnings.
It's like... Mega Man didn't make MM9 and MM10 any easier for a new and untested generation to enjoy, and look how many new Mega Man games there are coming out soo... oh. Ohhh.
EarthBound Bound For the Part of Earth that... Speaks English. Yep. That's a Headline I Wrote.
I love EarthBound. I only played it once and only got as far as the final boss. In hindsight, it's probably fair enough I didn't get to see the ending given that the method I was using to play it wasn't precisely the most morally pure option. Well, actually, being in Europe meant the only morally pure option available was "Nooooope." It's why I'm glad Nintendo decided to release it here as well as America: Though given the lack of an original SNES release over here, it must've confused Iwata and co. somewhat to see our equivalent of the MiiVerse explode with requests.
Kind of like how GameCenter CX has to kind of sidestep the reason why and how foreigners keep sending Kacho Arino supportive faxes during his live challenges. There's a priceless .gif out there where showrunner Kibe has to quickly search for an answer to Arino's innocent question as to how they're all watching the show outside of Japan.
I haven't even beaten Bowser's Inside Story yet! Even so, this actually looks pretty cool. I mean, all the Mario & Luigi RPGs are kind of amazing. Can't wait to play that Katamari Lui-cy sequence. Best part? The game's out in Europe a full month before it's out in the US. I can't remember the last time a Nintendo RPG got a Europe release long before... no wait, it happened three times in the past year. Oops.
Super Mario World 5: Yoshi's Island 3! But Not Yoshi's Story 2, Which Is The Yarn One. I Think. This is Getting Ineggsplicable!
I didn't actually know that Yoshi's Island DS was a true sequel. I just figured they just pulled another Mario Advance for the system. So, great, I actually have even more catching up to do. Good thing the SNES original was part of the 3DS Ambassador Program - I can rebuild my tolerance for all that bawling in preparation for the newer ones.
Professor Layton 6! The Aslan Legacies! The Professor's Heading to Narnia, Beeotches!
I've only played three Laytons. I've said it before, but a little Dapper Puzzle Gent goes a long way, especially when every fifth puzzle is an accursed sliding block or chess piece or matchstick noggin-scratcher. The presentation's always top-notch, don't get me wrong, but all that whimsy needs a solid backbone of tough puzzle-solving action and I've yet to find a single one of these games that hasn't been completely hit-or-miss with its puzzle selection. I'll still play it, because if Level-5 was a person I would do all sorts of lascivious things to them, but I find that pacing them out has really been working wonders so far.
It's admirable, in a way, that they refuse to change any part of that aspect and simply drop the puzzles everyone hates. In another way, it's kind of discouraging. I dunno, maybe someone out there actually likes shifting blocks around for hours or solving Tower of Hanoi puzzles. I pity them.
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy! Four Words That Someone Thought Would Be OK To Put Next To Each Other In That Order!
While I'm always happy to see a fan-supported push to get more niche JRPGs over here, I've fallen way behind on the portable ones. Some self-proclaimed proponent of the genre I am. Let's see... for Nintendo handhelds alone I still have The World Ends With You, Nostalgia, Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light, Radiant Historia, probably half a dozen Kingdom Hearts by now, Tales of the Abyss 3D, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, the aforementioned Bowser's Inside Sto- Nope, stop, this is just getting depressing.
Shin Megami Tensei IV! Do You Know Anything About Shin Megami Tensei? Because I Sure As Hell Don't!
See above. No, not the subtitle - the above paragraph. Even so, never been a fan of the core Megami Tensei series. Megami Tensei purists decry the "Teddies-come-latelys" that only jumped on board the Shin Wagoni Trainsei because they had Persona's lightweight dating sim aspects to alleviate all the brutal drubbings and endless fusion menus that real MegaTen is all about. But hey, guess what? That part of the game by itself doesn't sound nearly as palatable. Neither does playing a visual novel where there are no dungeons full of monsters in which to hide in shame after saying something totally embarrassing in front of senpai. Persona works because it has two game genres I probably wouldn't be into normally perfectly complementing one another, and I feel that probably goes for everyone else who really likes that sub-series in particular. Well, that and Vinny casting Bufu.
What I essentially mean is: Wake me up when Persona 5 news shows up.
Selling fucking Pipe Dream as a standalone product in 2013! Yessssssss. No more playing BioShock and Singularity just for their hacking minigames for me.
The most noncommittal title in video gaming history actually has a lot going for it to pique my interest. I never got to play the thematically similar Namco X Capcom, even though I was familiar with way more of the characters that appear in that crossover than those responsible for deciding whether or not to bring it over might have surmised. It's reassuring we're getting this one apparently everywhere. Couldn't hurt either studio's reputation to throw their Western fans a bone. I'm sure there's still a few of us left.
That is some weaksauce punnage! I approve! Oddly, the European Nintendo Direct announcement did not mention Game and Wario in its line-up, despite having its UK release within weeks of the US one. It is possible they don't sell as well over here. That would make me very sad.
Guild02 Coming Soon!
Man, I say I'm a proponent of the Guild01 trio of games that actually made it over here to the eShop, but I've only really played Matsuno's entry in what amounts to a Level-5 Game Jam where only the cream of the Japanese game design crop are invited to participate. Crimson Shroud's a damn good game for a ten dollar downloadable, so this new bunch has some shoes to fill. Creepy space station survival horror adventure game might clinch it for me this time around.
What does the new leaf refer to? I dunno, Wi-Fi support? Did the DS one have that? What about the Wii one? I'm so excited for a new Animal Crossing, I can't even remember how many identical games in this franchise there have been.
Is also a game that is coming out! Still! I'm kind of glad I made my mind up early on that Pikmin 3 would be the game I would seriously consider buying a Wii U for, since it appears I've been given plenty of time to reconsider that decision.
Well, that's your lot for today. There's probably many more games I'm forgetting, probably conveniently (a Lego City Undercover prequel? Before I've had a chance to give a crap about the original? Bold sale tactics, there), but it certainly looks like the 3DS is out of that difficult early period that its forebear also went through. I dunno if it'll ever make the same waves the original DS did, but it's never safe to count out the big N.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I heard it through the grapevine that tonight is the night. Ciao, paisanos!