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Nintendo 3DS LL Announced And … It’s Pretty Silly

Nintendo 3DS LL XL Announced Size

During Nintendo’s Direct showing just last night, Nintendo showed off their brand new hardware to serve as an upgrade to the 3DS. The 3DS LL (or XL outside of Japan) features screens 90% larger than the previous handheld and longer lasting battery life. Details can be found after the jump.

The top screen will be a 4.88 inch screen, with the touch screen measuring at 4.18 inches. The 3DS itself will measure at 173mm in length, and 155mm in width. We can expect the new battery to last between three and a half to six and a half hours when using 3D, and six to ten hours in 2D mode. The 3DS LL/XL will launch without a charger in Japan and Europe, as Nintendo states that the vast majority of consumers who purchase their new hardware will be owners of the previous 3DS device.

In the US, the 3DS will retail for $199.99 (£128.31 GBP). We can’t expect to be so lucky here in the UK though, paying a total £179.99 ($280.54 USD). We’re actually paying more than the Japanese for a change. I’ve found nothing on the EU price yet, but I suspect €199.99.

Honestly, I think this is kinda stupid. Even the most hardcore Nintendo fans I know find the comment about the lack of a charger insulting, of course being the internet I expect to be criticised for that anyway. On top of that, the screen is 90% larger than the previous 3DS, but there appears to be no change in resolution. This means a significantly lower DPI (see 90% lower) that essentially indicates that, well… we’re going to have to get used to seeing a lot of bloated pixels everywhere. It’s not going to be pretty.

Nintendo 3DS XL LL Second Analogue Stick Announced News
See? It doesn’t look too hard to do!

What also gets me is the lack of a second stick. While many complain that this would split the userbase in half, I don’t see the point in launching a handheld clearly designed as an upgrade for existing hardware for previous adopters when you don’t do something like that. They said it themselves, that they expect current 3DS owners to purchase it. Why not give them the second analogue stick? It saves buying an extra accessory, which, now they’ll have to wait for another release of that too. Meanwhile, early 3DS consumers can just buy the accessory like they were expected to if they wanted to use the second stick anyway. The option is there. Instead, this just means we can’t expect much for the second stick at all – so long as it remains an accessory.

Anyhow, this is good news for anyone wanting to trade off portability and, relatively, clean graphics for either a larger screen or a longer battery life. Frankly, I’d rather wait for the next iteration. I’m also expecting a 3DS with a second analogue stick at some stage. It’d be a great way to manipulate consumers who bought both versions to purchase another 3DS. After all, isn’t that was this is really about?

CVG: Nintendo Unveils Nintendo 3DS XL

PlayStation Vita Sale

Sony PlayStation Vita for video game sale news

So, just in case you own your own PlayStation Vita and somehow still haven’t already played every Vita game on the market whilst waiting for more releases: Sony are pleased to announce a sale on their titles for the handheld. Read the list after the jump.

Army Corps from Hell
Was €39.99/£34.99 – Now €26.99/£21.99
Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend
Was €39.99/£34.99 – Now €26.99/£21.99
Little Deviants
Was €14.99/£11.99 – Now €10.99/£8.99
Modnation Racers: Road Trip
Was €14.99/£11.99 – Now €10.99/£8.99
Rayman Origins
Was €34.99/£29.99 – Now €24.99/£19.99
Reality Fighters
Was €14.99/£11.99 – Now €10.99/£8.99
Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen
Was €39.99/£34.99 – Now €19.99/£16.99
Touch My Katamari
Was €29.99/£24.99 – Now €14.99/£11.99
Unit 13
Was €34.99/£29.99 – Now €24.99/£19.99

It’s a small list, but the prices are fairly decent. I’ve not used my Vita for a while as I’ve been too skint to buy anything for it, so this will be a good chance for me to at least get Unit 13. I may actually pick up a couple more just to give my Vita more use as well. Is there anything that interests you guys? In particular, I heavily recommend Rayman Origins if you’ve not played it already. If I push it enough, eventually they might give me commission for the sales I make them!

PlayStation Blog (EU): PS Vita Sale on PlayStation Store Continues…

Review: Capcom’s Wrath

A lot of negative press has been surrounding Capcom as of late, particularly involving how they market their games. One of the more controversial titles in the past year was Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 — release lesss than a year after Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Then there’s the downloadable content on the disc. And of course, there’s the fact that they’ve been outsourcing their biggest franchises to western developers, which has also cause its fair share of backlash. Regardless, things are looking up this year. They may still be outsourcing their old IP’s, but this year they have two particularly good looking fresh IPs this year. These titles are Dragon’s Dogma and Asura’s Wrath. I recently got my hands on the latter.

Asura’s Wrath is probably the most unique looking game released this year so far. I know that the year is far from over, but we’re already halfway through and I consider that impressive enough. Before I got my hands on the game I tried my best to stay as uninformed as possible. I didn’t play the demo, I didn’t read very much news on the game at all, and I just steered clear from conversations involving the game. One comment did slip through my defences though. Asura’s Wrath is a Japanese anime in video game form. Knowing, at the very least, the genre in which the title belonged to, I determined that this perception of the game was a result of the over-the-top action elements and it’s graphical style. It’s a fair enough comparison, I thought, but the same can be said for ‘x game’ or ‘y game’. I just thought people were slightly exaggerating. Boy, was I wrong.

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: CyberConnect2
Platforms: PlayStation 3(Reviewed), Xbox 360
Release Date: February 24th 2012
Rating: 15 (BBFC), 16+ (PEGI)

Asura’s Wrath takes from anime beyond just the clichés, the graphical style and being very zany in a Japanese fashion. The game is split into eighteen episodes. Each episode is split into two halves, separated by eye catches. Brief credits appear on screen at the start of each episode, and there’s also a next episode preview at the end of an episode.

The story in itself is interesting and very entertaining, but it doesn’t have too much substance to it either. It focuses entirely on Asura’s rage and how it fuels his power as he tries to rescue his daughter. It was crazy entertaining though, despite being filled with clichés all over. As of such, even the characters’ personalities weren’t original – as they were essentially typical anime character archetypes. We’re not looking at something particularly deep here, but it certainly gets points for being artistic, and I mean that in as little of a pretentious manner as possible.

For the most part, the character of Asura is one in which we can empathise with. He’s relatively likeable, as much as he is defined by his anger. He’s exciting to watch, and gets your blood boiling. The intensity of the action makes the entire game just fantastic to watch. Oh, did I say watch?

The thing about this game is that it’s about one-third gameplay, and two-thirds of it are cinematic scenes. Those scenes do feature user interaction, however. This is through the use of Quick-Time Events in which the player must press the corresponding button in the manner that the game suggests. You do not fail instantly should you mess it up, and you are given leeway, but it’s quite compelling. Frankly, I looked forward to the Quick-Time Event segments of the game more than I did the actual third person action game segment!

Expect the action to be very basic, but still relatively fun. I can see why it’s just a small portion of the gameplay considering that it doesn’t have that much depth. All the same, it’s great to see how your attacks and techniques change with the story (such as when you lose or gain limbs); although, these changes are usually more cosmetic and doesn’t really impact your strategy.

Speaking of cosmetics, the graphics are beautiful. They’re very anime-esque. Whilst I can see that being a problem for some, it does make the game look magnificent. Likewise the sound is great and everyone is voice acted very well.

Honestly, there’s very little else to add about this title. It’s artistic, and whilst there are plenty of other games that rely on Quick-Time Event mechanics, Asura’s Wrath still manages to come out feeling very fresh and unique. As a title selling at full retail price, it doesn’t warrant a purchase. It’s too experimental and only lasts six hours. However, I certainly suggest giving the title a rent or buying it at a discounted price. It’s a game that really is worth playing.

Asura’s Wrath scores 7/10. It was completed on Normal Difficulty, without any downloadable content installed.

Insert Generic Update Title Here

laughing girls at a video game blog
He actually believes he has readers.

Apologies for the lack of updates to my many readers (scoff) out there. As you can see, I’ve recently purchased my domain. The problem is that this has lead me to second guessing myself in regards to the quality on the site. If I’m going to do this then I’m going to this right, you know? I’ve decided to go through my old posts and give them a little work over. Meanwhile, I’ve tried to make the site more navigatable and look a tad nicer. I now make use of space below the posts for the site archive and affiliated sites too. As an extra touch, I’ve also added pages to catalogue all the reviews, previews, let’s reviews and whatever else I’ll need to catalogue. These pages are linked above the posts.

The E3 articles are nearly all done. Sorry for the delays on that one. It’s probably a bit too late to post them now, being that it’s a week later, but I’m going to do it anyway. On the side, I’m also working on my Asura’s Wrath review. I’ve also received Catherine and SSX through the mail, so expect a review and preview of each.

Lastly, I’m working on a podcast with a couple of friends. I’m unsure of the quality, so bare with us. We’re working on turning it into a high quality podcast worth listening to, so if you have any constructive feedback at all then please share. You can also email me at CrashScreen@GamingAdvance.com. You may also share suggestions of what reviews or previews you would like me to cover, or point me towards a let’s player you believe deserves some attention.

Oh, and there’s also going to be another couple of contributors to the site joining me in the coming weeks.

E3 Conference Roundup: EA

Well, well. Look at who we have here. Famous in the games industry for being the most corrupt publisher in the games industry, and that’s after Bobby Kotick, known as the ‘Devil of the Games Industry’, and his very own Activision! EA have done a lot of things to outright anger their consumers, and are usually at the centre of a lot of controversy in the industry. So, as you can guess, they’re very much hated through-out the globe. So, was their conference good, or is it just as hate-worthy?

Short answer is: no. It wasn’t that bad. The issue is that it wasn’t good either. EA deal with shooters, racing games and sports games. Essentially, they target the largest demographic of video games today. The ‘casual’ market. Their conference featured all the usual titles we’d expect from EA, as well as some typical nonsense in which they’d attempt to justify their premium service. Medal of Honour looked like they could have just left it with the prototype name: ‘First-Person Shooter #104′. And in all honesty, I actually forget what the rest of the conference contained. It was pretty forgettable; although Sim City and Burnout Paradise 2 – err, Need for Speed: Most Wanted – stood out to me. Don’t worry, though. I took notes so I should be able to get back on tra- …

EA E3 notes
Oh.
Well, that’s handy. But I guess it brings me to commenting about Need for Speed: Most Wanted anyway. I guarantee that game was called Burnout Paradise 2 during development, but EA had Criterion change the name to sell more copies. It looks like what a sequel to Paradise would be like. 

E3 Conference Roundup: Microsoft

Microsoft logo for E3 Conference review

Oh, boy. It’s Microsoft again. Did anyone watch them the last two years? Microsoft have long fallen from grace, focusing on ‘better with Kinect’ than any proper video games. Now, that’s not to say Kinect games aren’t to be played or aren’t fun. They are technically proper games too, so what do I mean? Well, I mean a poorly expressed difference between the cluster of shovelware and party games that make their way onto Kinect, and the standard fare that video gaming has been for generations now. There’s no problem with the new gimmicky video games that developers produce for the Kinect peripheral, but it’s fairly evident that Microsoft are focusing far less on their core audience in an attempt to bleed more money out of the industry as they follow Nintendo’s example.

In past years, fewer exclusives and brand new IPs have been getting announced at Microsoft’s conferences. At least, none that benefit their Xbox 360 system specifically. Microsoft’s conference has been the place for third party developers to show off their multi-platform titles to try and get some hype building up. Sure, we’ve gotten the 360 exclusive Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgement this year, but therein lies my problem. Halo 4. Gears of War: Judgement. There’s nothing truly new about this. Again, I wish to remind my readers that I have no issue with sequels or remakes – I have recently enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII-2 and I’m loving both Metal Gear Solid and Devil May Cry’s HD collections (I even plan to pick up MGS HD again on the Vita!) – but what I do have a problem with is the sheer abundance of them in exchange of brand new IPs. Microsoft have yet to announce any brand new IPs for their core audience, and even the Kinect is starting to get less new IPs as well.

Whilst the lack of brand new franchises can be correlated to the fact that the consoles are nearing the end of their lifespan, just recently Sony announced their Last of Us title, a new party fighting game and – in their own conference – Beyond: Two Souls. This generation of consoles are nearing their end, but that doesn’t mean brand new IPs cannot squeeze whatever remaining life they can out of the systems while we wait for the next generation yet to be announced. The worst part is that this is just the start of what’s wrong with their conferences.

Who aren't E3's demographic but Microsoft believes they are for their Xbox 360's Kinect
An example of the “casual” audience that
Microsoft appear to be marketing towards.

While Microsoft completely lack brand new core gaming IPs, lack focus on exclusives and focus on multi-platform games that the other systems are also going to have, and focus entirely on a peripheral that gamers are generally and seemingly not that interested in; Microsoft also forgot about video games for what seemed like a significant portion of the conference. In actuality, probably about one third of the conference was on things such as SmartGlass and ESPN on Live. This just doesn’t seem all that relevant for the E3 demographic, at all.

And then there’s the Kinect. This year, we had more focus on games being better with Kinect (spoiler: they’re not) and had only two games for the device. One was practically Angry Birds HD, and the other is probably the only game to have never received an applause at E3. I needn’t comment more, but even the Kinect is suffering from lack of support.The Kinect!

The conference was a bit of a joke. With Windows 8 being pushed and internet explorer 8 is coming to 360! Yeah. But that’s not all. Usher came out to advertise their dancing game, and they didn’t pay the game any attention at all. The best they did was show it in the background while he danced, but he was utterly out of sync and tune with it.

As a conference about a video game console, it was a terrible conference. Microsoft did little for their consumer base. They showed off the things that didn’t really matter, and forgot that they also had to have games developed. Instead, they left it to the third party developers to show off their multiplatform games at the Xbox 360 conference. Microsoft need to ask themselves why they received a spot at E3. What are they doing there? They’re there to show off their video games console. Not media centre. I remember when I wanted a 360. Ever since I got a competent PC for gaming, however, Microsoft have done little to sell the 360 to me. This was the final nail in the coffin. Their 360 is finished. Now we just need to wait a year to find out about their new console, because they’ve certainly given up on this one.

E3 Roundup

Every year there’s the E3 convention. A place of gaming news, reveals, demos, and disappointments. I figured that it made sense to write a series of articles about the different conferences on my opinions and what they mean.

Now, I’m not a fan of internet memes or anything of the sort. I try to keep the internet out of my writing and blog. That being said, I put together a summary of my E3 experience in the form of a report card, as done by some internet imageboards. It seemed like a good way to start this off, so why not. Here are my opinions. Expect to see justifications through-out the week.

Summary of E3 opinions and review