Weekly Roundup 06/10/2012

I finally did it, I finally took the plunge. I am now the proud owner of a Nintendo 3DS. I’ve known for a while that I was going to get one, but I decided to wait until E3 was over to see if there would be any 3DS related announcements (price drop, hardware revision, etc.). I didn’t expect any, and it seems my instincts were dead on. Thus, the time felt right. I just got it yesterday, so I haven’t spent that much time with it. I spent an hour or so just fiddling with it at first; it’s a slick system. The “dashboard” interface is smooth, and getting online and browsing the shop is quick and easy. The 3D also looks great, the circle pad feels better than I thought it would, and the system is comfortable to hold. Overall I’m really impressed with the hardware and system design after a few hours.

You do more pulling than pushing really...

Now it’s time to dig into the software. The system came with a few little things already on it, like Face Raiders and the AR Games. They’re dumb, but I guess that’s also kind of the point, to be silly little freebies to waste a few minutes on. As for software that I actually bought, that would be Super Mario 3D Land (still think it should be called Super Mario Land 3D) and Pushmo. I haven’t played Mario yet, but I did play through a few dozen puzzles in Pushmo. That game is pretty awesome. Intelligent Systems has always been one of my favorite developers, and their talent comes through in Pushmo. It’s a seemingly simple block pushing/pulling puzzle game that ends up showing off a lot of creativity and variety, and I can see how it will probably end up getting pretty devious later on. In other words, easy to learn, hard to master. I’m looking forward to playing more of that, and also to diving into Mario, which I’ve heard good things about.

Anyway, most of the week wasn’t spent on the 3DS. It was spent on things like Diablo III and The Walking Dead. I won’t ramble much about Diablo anymore, since I’ve done enough of that over the past few weeks. Just a quick update: we’re now at the start of Act II on Inferno. And yes, the reports of a giant difficulty spike between Acts I and II on Inferno are completely true. Blizzard actually says they’re going to adjust the difficulty in a patch, which will be nice. I thought Act I was tough without being too ridiculous, and if they adjust Act II towards that then it will feel good. Right now it’s just kind of silly in a way that encourages stupid, desperate, cheesy tactics. It’s not much fun, so I might take it easy on that until the patch comes out (they said later this month, but it’s Blizzard, so who really knows).

I'm already interested to see where this unlikely pair's story goes.

Ultimately, however, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead was the highlight of the week. I played the first episode (which was pretty short), and I really liked it. Like my favorite adventure games, the writing is sharp (there were one or two really good heart-tug moments) and it has a dynamic cast of characters, ones I presume will end up being pretty memorable. I say “presume” because this first episode was so short that I didn’t really have time to get attached to anyone yet. That’s the main reason why I debated on waiting until all five episodes were out before playing, but it is what it is. As such, all I can really say is that it got off to a good start, and I hope they keep it up. The pairing of Lee and Clementine in particular seems to be setting up a touching dynamic, and I’m interested to see where all of these characters’ stories go.

The actual gameplay is a pretty standard point-and-click style adventure game setup, which is perfectly capable at getting the job done. Rather than solving a lot of puzzles, however, the interaction focuses primarily on having you make various choices, usually along the lines of siding with one character over another. The main ways this manifests itself is in multiple scenarios where two people are getting attacked by zombies, and you can only save one of them. Those scenes are kind of neat, but I also found them to not be as gripping as they could; I need to spend more time with these characters before I can care that much about them. If they continue to build up these characters throughout all five episodes, however, then I definitely see the potential for some really great moments. Especially if the writing stays this solid.

Who knows when the next episode will come out. I thought it was supposed to be out by now, but no luck there. Otherwise I’ll probably be spending more time with my 3DS this week, and will mess with Diablo as I feel like it. And that will do it for now, until next time!

Currently playing: Pushmo, Super Mario 3D Land, Diablo III

3 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by MajorMitch

I finally did it, I finally took the plunge. I am now the proud owner of a Nintendo 3DS. I’ve known for a while that I was going to get one, but I decided to wait until E3 was over to see if there would be any 3DS related announcements (price drop, hardware revision, etc.). I didn’t expect any, and it seems my instincts were dead on. Thus, the time felt right. I just got it yesterday, so I haven’t spent that much time with it. I spent an hour or so just fiddling with it at first; it’s a slick system. The “dashboard” interface is smooth, and getting online and browsing the shop is quick and easy. The 3D also looks great, the circle pad feels better than I thought it would, and the system is comfortable to hold. Overall I’m really impressed with the hardware and system design after a few hours.

You do more pulling than pushing really...

Now it’s time to dig into the software. The system came with a few little things already on it, like Face Raiders and the AR Games. They’re dumb, but I guess that’s also kind of the point, to be silly little freebies to waste a few minutes on. As for software that I actually bought, that would be Super Mario 3D Land (still think it should be called Super Mario Land 3D) and Pushmo. I haven’t played Mario yet, but I did play through a few dozen puzzles in Pushmo. That game is pretty awesome. Intelligent Systems has always been one of my favorite developers, and their talent comes through in Pushmo. It’s a seemingly simple block pushing/pulling puzzle game that ends up showing off a lot of creativity and variety, and I can see how it will probably end up getting pretty devious later on. In other words, easy to learn, hard to master. I’m looking forward to playing more of that, and also to diving into Mario, which I’ve heard good things about.

Anyway, most of the week wasn’t spent on the 3DS. It was spent on things like Diablo III and The Walking Dead. I won’t ramble much about Diablo anymore, since I’ve done enough of that over the past few weeks. Just a quick update: we’re now at the start of Act II on Inferno. And yes, the reports of a giant difficulty spike between Acts I and II on Inferno are completely true. Blizzard actually says they’re going to adjust the difficulty in a patch, which will be nice. I thought Act I was tough without being too ridiculous, and if they adjust Act II towards that then it will feel good. Right now it’s just kind of silly in a way that encourages stupid, desperate, cheesy tactics. It’s not much fun, so I might take it easy on that until the patch comes out (they said later this month, but it’s Blizzard, so who really knows).

I'm already interested to see where this unlikely pair's story goes.

Ultimately, however, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead was the highlight of the week. I played the first episode (which was pretty short), and I really liked it. Like my favorite adventure games, the writing is sharp (there were one or two really good heart-tug moments) and it has a dynamic cast of characters, ones I presume will end up being pretty memorable. I say “presume” because this first episode was so short that I didn’t really have time to get attached to anyone yet. That’s the main reason why I debated on waiting until all five episodes were out before playing, but it is what it is. As such, all I can really say is that it got off to a good start, and I hope they keep it up. The pairing of Lee and Clementine in particular seems to be setting up a touching dynamic, and I’m interested to see where all of these characters’ stories go.

The actual gameplay is a pretty standard point-and-click style adventure game setup, which is perfectly capable at getting the job done. Rather than solving a lot of puzzles, however, the interaction focuses primarily on having you make various choices, usually along the lines of siding with one character over another. The main ways this manifests itself is in multiple scenarios where two people are getting attacked by zombies, and you can only save one of them. Those scenes are kind of neat, but I also found them to not be as gripping as they could; I need to spend more time with these characters before I can care that much about them. If they continue to build up these characters throughout all five episodes, however, then I definitely see the potential for some really great moments. Especially if the writing stays this solid.

Who knows when the next episode will come out. I thought it was supposed to be out by now, but no luck there. Otherwise I’ll probably be spending more time with my 3DS this week, and will mess with Diablo as I feel like it. And that will do it for now, until next time!

Currently playing: Pushmo, Super Mario 3D Land, Diablo III

Posted by mufujifi

I'm thinking of getting a 3DS at some point as well, but I gotta need something else other than RE: Revelations and the upcoming Theatrhythm Final Fantasy in my wishlist. Might instead get a Wii first to catch up on all the titles that caught my eye, especially since the system is so darn cheap at the moment.

Posted by MajorMitch

@mufujifi: After spending a week with my 3DS I'm really liking it so far, but it also wouldn't hurt to wait for some more games... I'm definitely hopeful that Theatrhythm turns out decent. As for the Wii, I've had one since launch and think there are more than enough interesting titles to warrant a purchase as this point, especially if you've never played many of the games (in which case I'd recommend it over a 3DS right now). That's my 2 cents anyway :P