Read-a-Long with Nintendo Power #244 (August 2009)
This month’s issue is both hearty and chunky, as NP rampages through over 20 games featured at E3 2009, several of which received almost no press coverage. By the way, has anybody out there speculated that “Metroid: Other M” might be a cloaked reference to Mother Brain? Chew on that as you read-a-long!
Issue #244, August 2009
featuring E3 2009 roundup, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (DS), No More Heroes 2 (Wii), Trauma Team (Wii), Wii Sports Resort (Wii), Legendary Starfy (Wii), Fragile (Wii)
I’m not going to bother saying much about E3 showponies like Super Mario Galaxy 2, Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and Metroid: Other M. You already know enough about those. Instead, I’m going to present some tidbits from the lesser-known E3 reveals.
Like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (Wii). WTF. I moderately enjoyed the original GameCube Crystal Chronicles, but this Wii version sounds completely different. They’re still calling it an action-RPG, but every time I hear about it, it seems to be less and less RPG-like. In fact, it sounds a lot like Elebits, as the main character relies on a grab-and-yank telekinesis ability to solve puzzles and interact with the environment. NP reports that the demo had “no spells, items, or pointless NPC conversations.” Can this sub-franchise deviate any further from Final Fantasy?
Dead Space Extraction is working to earn that Wii pedigree. The prequel will make you shake the Remote to charge your light, and your gun’s secondary modes are activated by turning the Remote sideways.
You remember The Conduit, right? Boy, it seems like ages since anybody talked about that one. When did that come out? 2007? Holiday ’08? … Oh crap, it came out last week? Jeez.
Anyway, developer High Voltage brought two new Wii games to E3, which makes me think poor Conduit was simply the proving ground for better games to come. The Grinder moves the FPS genre from sci-fi to horror, as players will become monster-killing bounty hunters. The Grinder will a four-man online co-op mode. High Voltage’s second game is a fighter called Gladiator A.D. NP claims this one is in the Bushido Blade fighter model with “light RPG elements” to enhance your chosen character. Seriously, has anybody heard of either of these games before? Both are scheduled as “TBD 2010.”
Start planning your perversions now… that personality quiz at the beginning of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii) will determine what kind of clothes are worn by the game’s female police officer. She can apparently show up in full riot gear, as a Law & Order-style suit detective, or with a “provocatively unbuttoned” tight shirt.
What? A sequel to Dementium (DS)? It’s happening! I’ll avoid Nintendo Power’s classless error and not reiterate the COMPLETE SPOILER they toss out about the first one.
A Boy and His Blob (Wii) will include a “Hug” button to soothe the blob in times of stress. That is all.
And finally, I want to reiterate a point about Wii Fit Plus: they are not kidding about the “Plus.” This sequel has all of the activities of last year’s runaway sales hit, but adds six new exercises and a pleasant-sounding fifteen new balance games. Also, you can string together a custom workout. Wii Fit Plus will incorporate your save file from the first one, so there is literally no need to own the original. I’m hoping the standalone release arrives at the $30 price point.
Miyamoto has some notes about Nintendo’s upcoming releases in his Nintendo Power E3 interview. If you’re wondering how New Super Mario Bros. Wii will handle multiplayer deaths, you can rest assured knowing it will be as punishment-free as possible. As long as another player is still alive, a dead player will simply re-appear right where he or she died.
The game will also feature the return of the Koopa Kids (“We’re still working on it!” Miyamoto promises, as if there’s some sort of complex contract negotiation to work out with Wendy O. Koopa.) Plus, NSMBW will debut the long-rumored “Kind Code” feature that will let the game play for you if you get to spot that you can’t complete. I’m sure I’m in the minority on this one, but I will totally turn on Kind Code – or Demo Play or whatever the final name is – and watch the game play itself start to finish. I like watching games, what can I say.
When asked about the playable characters being Mario, Luigi, Toad and Another Toad, Shigeru Miyamoto says “That’s it.” I still maintain that they’re holding back Peach as a secret character. Either she’s in from the start or you unlock her after beating the game once. The game has such a Super Mario Bros. 2 vibe that I can’t imagine Nintendo ignoring the obvious and not completing the SMB2 quartet.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is intended to be more difficult than the first, which means I should probably just bail out now. Miyamoto says not to expect any new suits (instead: Yoshi and new abilities for Yoshi), that the game will feature all new galaxies (why would you assume they would repeat, because Wii Fit Plus repeats?), and that there will be a time slowdown effect. Miyamoto doesn’t say if this is an in-game effect, or if this is another take on Kind Code to make the game easier to play.
Oh, and about that new Legend of Zelda for Wii? Great quote from the master: “I don’t think it’s going to be that radically different.” Have fun with that one, gang.
This is no Fallout. Although Fragile will bring a post-apocalyptic RPG adventure to the Wii, it’s more about atmosphere than gameplay. In fact, Japan classifies an entire subgenre of adventure games as “funiki”; NP cites such great-atmosphere-but-questionable-gameplay titles as Killer 7, Siren and Rule of Rose as funiki games. These are games that were all frustrating to play to certain degrees, yet oozed an undeniably unique style that kept you coming back for more.
Fragile owes a lot to the Japanese “modern ruins” explorer movement known as haikyo, where amateur archaeologists venture into abandoned locales just to see what’s there. I’ve followed various haikyo weblogs for years (sadly, many of my old favorites are no longer around) and have always found the resultant photography fascinating. Japan has a wealth of these lonely sites, which may seem odd for a country so frequently described as being densely populated. From schools to hospitals to hotels to amusement parks, these locations are real-world cyphers, sitting broken and silent yet full of questions… as if they are forgotten remnants of a mass evacuation or a ground zero nuclear blast.
So needless to say, after reading this I’m suddenly very interested in Fragile. It’s due this winter.
Download Staff Picks: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (WiiWare), The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64)
Top scoring Wii review: Little King’s Story, 9.0 (all scores out of 10)
Top scoring DS review: Dawn of Discovery, 8.5
Lowest rated Wii review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 5.5
Lowest rated DS review: Mega Man Star Force 3 6.0
Other scores this month: The Bigs 2 (Wii) struck out at 6.0, Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits (DS) hit 7.0, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (Wii) reached a respectable 8.0.
Although being different games, both the DS and Wii iterations of the Overlord franchise scored 7.0.
Bowser, done Book Style. – As if the concept of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story wasn’t confusing enough, at certain points you’ll have to turn the DS sideways (like Brain Age) and control a giant Bowser across both screens. Also: Fawful is back!
Now that is an awesome subtitle. – In Japan, the game we know as The Legendary Starfy carries the subtitle “Confrontation: Dire Pirate Squad.”
Trauma Team is not Medical Minigames. – After reading the first vague press releases, I was worried that Trauma Center was going to become Trauma Party. Although the game features six doctors with different specialties, Trauma Team still maintains the dramatic storyline and style of the rest of the franchise. The key improvements are a greater variety of operations, full voiceovers, and a step away from the series’ more fantastical elements such as GUILT and the Healing Touch.
Some More Shinobu. – The No More Heroes sequel will break up all the Travis Touchdown with a little playable Shinobu, the young girl who is one of Travis’s early boss fights in the first game. Also, creator Suda 51 is including some exercise minigames for Travis’s pet cat because he “didn’t want to lose against Ubisoft’s Petz series!”
Freakin’ standardize this, already! – Wii Sports Resort will feature Achievements, er Trophies, er Challenges… er Stamps that you receive for completing various tasks within the game. Hey Nintendo: it’s clear you like the Achievements idear, so go ahead and make that a console standard, okay?
Next month in Nintendo Power… Professor Layton!
Tags: dead space: extraction, ds, e3 2009, final fantasy crystal chronicles, fragile, mario & luigi, new super mario bros wii, Nintendo, nintendo power, no more heroes 2, Read-a-Long, trauma team, wii, Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports: Resort, wiiware