The Land of ESH

Log OutLog In

Posts Tagged ‘Nintendo 3DS’

I’m Thankful For These Video Games

At this time of the year, we always take a few minutes to reach deep inside and talk about what we’re thankful for.  While, my family and friends certainly feature prominently on my list this year, I’d like to take a second here and talk about a few of the video games I’m thankful for […]

ESH Podcast Episode # 299: I’ve got Rhythm. I’ve Got Music. I Just Want To Know Why I Need It.

George Gershwin most likely didn’t have this in mind when he composed this song. Ninjasistah’s voice has returned–well mostly anyway. So The Sistahs celebrated with doing what they do best: this podcast. This show took a turn on serious street this week while still staying true to their style. Ninja talked a bit about her […]

Theatrhythm Got a Preemptive Strike but Missed its Limit Break

Go read my Theatrhythm review over at EGMNOW.com right Here

May Freebie Report: Part 1

The best price one can pay for anything is free.  Nintendo’s rewards program, Club Nintendo, starting this year has been offering downloadable games for your hard earned points.  Each month, on day one, Nintendo offers up a few new games for the Wii and 3DS.  With the arrival of May, they’ve offered up four more […]

Nintendo’s Latest Reboot Flies High

One of the promises that Nintendo made when discussing the launch window for the 3DS, was that we would be seeing Kid Icarus: Uprising shortly after the system’s release.  As it turned out, unless the 3DS had an extremely long launch window, this was a lofty goal that Nintendo just could not keep.  Taking another […]

Superman 64 3D Announced for the 3DS

One strategy that Nintendo has had for its most current handheld system has been reaching back into the past.  So far, Nintendo has taken two of the best games ever made on the system, polished up the graphics and released them in 3D.  In a perplexing move, the next title that has been announced on to be redone in three dimensions is none other than Superman 64.  While I can certainly see the appeal of being able to fly through Metropolis in 3D, it seems like there could have been many other games ahead of this one to be remade.  Click ahead to see a few more surprising details about this newest Nintendo 64 remake.

The most important detail about this new game is that it doesn’t exist.  April Fools!  Can you imagine, though?  Hope you all have wonderful April 1st and I’ll see you soon with my review of Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Kid Icarus Brings More AR Fun to the 3DS

One of favorite things about the Nintendo 3DS, right out of the box, were all of the augmented reality games that were included.  Save for a few examples here and there, the AR possibilities for the 3DS have been woefully underused.  With Kid Icarus: Uprising coming to the US next friday, Nintendo is going to rectify this using the AR Idol Cards battle system.

With every copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising, there will be a package containing a random set of six AR Idol Cards out of a pool of twenty.  These cards have anything from a hero, villain or even equipment from the game printed on them.  When scanned using the AR camera on the 3DS, the character or weapon will appear on top of the card, much like how they appear using the AR cards included with the system.

Each card has a small gray arrow printed at the bottom and if two cards are set next each other they will battle it out.  The game will also keep track of every card you’ve scanned into the game so you can keep track of how your collection is coming.  Sounds pretty easy, since there are only about twenty cards, right?  As it turns out, it may be just a little tougher than that.  Nintendo has announced that there will be hundreds of AR Idol Cards made available for the game.

The question at this point becomes, if there are only twenty in that initial pool of starter cards, how do we get to hundreds?  Depending on what events you’ve attended, you might already have a few of those AR cards in your possession.  They gave a few of them out last year at the Nintendo booth during E3.  If you have a subscription to Nintendo Power or Game Informer, they’re both including cards inside their April 2012 issues.  If you’re a Club Nintendo member, all you need to do is give them your address and they’ll send you some cards and they’ll be giving everyone who picks up the game at the Nintendo World Store up in New York for the launch a special card.

Beyond that, any time you visit a store that’s having a tournament for the multiplayer mode of the game, everyone participating will receive a pack of ten cards.  Nintendo will also be sending retail representatives to retailers to hand out the packs as well.  The collectible card game junkie in me can hardly contain his glee at the thought of trying to collect these cards.  The raccoon in me really wants there to be some super rare holographic cards that I can horde and store in a giant binder.  Either way if Nintendo plays their cards right, this could add quite a bit of life to a game that is already looking amazing.  That’s right, I went there.

Second Stick, First Impressions

Walking into my local Gamestop the other day, I inquired about the Nintendo’s new add-on for the 3DS, the Circle Pad Pro.  The reaction I received instantly startled me, as it was reminiscent of how I was treated when asking if Wii Fit was in stock back in 2008.  Shockingly, I was told that they were out of stock, but were expecting a new shipment in April.  I found this to continue to be the case at many other stores until I finally managed to snag one using the in-store pickup option.  Was it worth the extra work to chase down?  Read on to find out.

With a device like this, there are three main aspects to address: How it looks, how it feels and how it plays.  Let’s start with how the thing looks.   To be honest, it’s not nearly as bad as I was expecting from the pictures I saw.  If you have the black 3DS, then you’re in the best shape in the looks department.  Having the aqua 3DS myself, it definitely looks a lot more like it’s sitting inside of a giant cradle, but it still manages to not bother me very much.  From an outside perspective, I’ve had several people who are very familiar my 3DS ask me “what the hell is that?” while the Circle Pad Pro is attached.

Holding the two combined, the first thing you’ll notice is the extra weight.  While neither device is particularly heavy on their own, when both are together, you can really tell a difference.  This additional mass, in my opinion, does not hinder your ability to hold it and actually makes it feel closer to how much a console controller might feel.  It does, on the other hand, cut down significantly on the portability of the handheld.  It will no longer fit comfortably into any pocket and may even need to be separated while it is transported.  The smooth back paneling of the pad is well designed to form your hands into the position they should be in and feels quite natural.

The way the Circle Pad Pro interfaces with the 3DS is pretty impressive.  There is an IR sensor along the back of the accessory which lines up with the sensor on the back on the 3DS.  The plus side here is the lack of a need to actually plug in anything.  When you want to use it, all you need to do is push the your 3DS into the cradle and tell whatever game you’re playing that you want to use it.  The 3DS fits quite snugly into the Circle Pad Pro, and while I’ve never had this issue, they even include a wrist strap that connects to the 3DS on the off chance it pops out.  To power the device, it has a little panel that needs to be unscrewed and a, thankfully included, AAA battery is inserted.  While some could see this as an unnecessary annoyance, the fact of the matter is that it further helps to make connecting the device easier and eliminates any effect it might have on the battery life.

Currently in North America, there are only one and a half games that use this new accessory.  I’m counting the demo for Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D as a half.  The main game I’ve gotten to try it out with thus far is Resident Evil: Revelaitons Revelations.  Having played the first few chapters of the game sans Circle Pad Pro, I can say with all certainty that while I would’ve lived without it, having that second pad feels a lot more natural.  The second pad feels almost exactly like the other, so it’s easy to jump right in.  The response time is also quite impressive and I haven’t experienced any lag thus far.

Aside from the second stick, it also adds ZR and ZL shoulder buttons.  Since the accessory is decently longer than the 3DS itself, it had to replace the R button with one located on the Circle Pad Pro.  While that button functions quite well, it expects you to use the original L button, which is placed now in such a place that it doesn’t feel natural to reach.  This hasn’t been much of an issue in Resident Evil: Revelations, because the button isn’t used much, but could pose a potential issue in the future.  One other small issue is because of where the IR sensor is located and the need to hold the 3DS in place, it’s covering up both the stylus and cartridge.  Certainly not a deal-breaker, but having to take the 3DS out of the Circle Pad Pro, get the stylus, put it back in and then change the settings back can get a little annoying.

When it comes down to it, the Circle Pad Pro is not around because games can’t be made using one analog stick.  I’ve played several of the titles listed as supporting the accessory and I still had a fun, if a bit uncomfortable, time.  It does add a decent amount of weight to the handheld and mine looks a bit like a blue-billed one-eyed platypus, but it feels good and adds a few extra controls that respond quite well.  Somewhere down the line, this will be bundled with something.  Whether it be something soon like Kid Icarus: Uprising or something a bit more distant like Monster Hunter Tri G, my recommendation is to wait until this puppy not only has more games supported, but maybe gets bundled Rumble Pack style.

Episode 272: I Want a Fluffy Muff For Christmas

Holiday shopping season is here, and this week the ladies of ESH share their purchase recommendations for the geeks/nerds/gamers nearest and dearest to you.

Gadgets

NinJa leads off with the AppleTV. At $99 dollars it’s a fantastic gift for the geek/nerd that wants their entire iTunes collection available on the living room (or man cave) big screen TV.

Panda chimes adding a gadget specifically aimed at gamers with the Astro Gaming Headset, and goes big by adding in the Astro Mixamp and PS3 conversion cable to make this gift the one headset to rule them all. A40+Mixamp bundle $279, additional PS3 chat cable $9.99. (Roughly $290 total.)

Anime

NinJa recommends Trigun: Complete Box Series from Amazon.com (Now listed at $38.99) and Eden of the East Complete Series in a BluRay/DVD combo pack on Amazon for $19.49.

Panda recommends BluRay/DVD combo pack found on Amazon for $34.99.

Games

For the games list, you are just going to have to grab a beverage and enjoy ESH Podcast Episode 272: I Want a Fluffy Muff for Christmas

Holy Neckerchief-Wearing Tanooki Suit, Jumpman

As a day-one owner of the Nintendo 3DS, I’ll admit that choice software for the system has been few and far between. While we’ve already had hits like Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D to enjoy, it just hasn’t been the same. What we’ve all been waiting for is a great game to play that wasn’t released in the mid-to-late 90s. Nintendo has finally answered our pleas with Super Mario 3D Land. Is this the breakout brand-spanking new game for the 3DS, or is it simply too little too late?

Starting up the game for the first time, there is very little to be surprised about. We open with a cut scene where, after a tree full of tanooki leaves are blown throughout the mushroom kingdom, bowser and his minions have yet again captured the princess. While not very original, if you were expecting oscar buzz from the story in this game, you clearly have never played any featuring this particular plumber. The real glory coming from this series lies in the gameplay and that is where this particular entry starts to shine.

One night, Super Mario 3 and Super Mario Galaxy 2 went out to have a few drinks. As night went on, the world got fuzzier and fuzzier for the pair until it seemed to melt away completely. The next morning, they woke up next to each other, not quite sure of the previous evenings events.  Nine months later, they gave birth to a beautiful baby 3DS game. This is the story of how Super Mario 3D Land came to be. It is designed to take the 3D-style of Mario gameplay, introduced to us by Super Mario 64, and combine it with the linear level-based structure of the earlier games. Why then would I single out Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3? I’ll explain myself one game at a time.

Aside from the obvious inclusion of the 3D style of play, most of what Super Mario Galaxy 2 had to contribute to this newest game came from identity. While you certainly weren’t flying from planet to planet, the graphics look as though they came straight from the same assets. I mean this in the most positive way possible, because Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a gorgeous game. The music as well, though not orchestrated, sounds like, and if I’m not mistaken often is, taken right from the aforementioned Wii title. The incredibly linear progression is another factor that makes this comparison difficult to dispute.

One of, if not, the most popular Mario games to date is Super Mario 3. Is it because of the ingenious level design? Okay, fine, that’s probably why everyone loves it so much, but the tanooki suit certainly doesn’t hurt. With the rarity of the item and the cool new powers it allowed you to have, it had a certain allure that always makes my heart skip a beat whenever I find it. In Super Mario 3D Land, you will find many tanooki suits.  It is probably the most common item in the game. Fear not, however, as there are several different varieties of tanooki suit available to you. This includes one that is wearing a sporty neckerchief and has the ability to turn to stone. Airships and koopa kids also make a reappearance, but instead of the individual kids there is what appears to be a male and female version of Roy Koopa.

Let’s face it, Mario doesn’t really visit us to tell us a long story, a lesson I learned when I received my Super Mario Galaxy reservation call from Charles Martinet. He comes by to let us have a mushroom-stomping good time. This game has had me more glued to my 3DS than anything else I’ve gotten to play on it. Though it does admittedly have a bit of easy start, the difficulty does ramp up towards the end. Then, once the princess is rescued, a whole new set of significantly more difficult versions of each level open up. There are several obstacles that take advantage of the 3D capabilities of the device and they are often quite clever. Anything from using forced perspective to having a jet blow fire in your face on an airship only adds to the fun.

If you are a 3DS owner and you’ve been yearning for something that hooks you to your system, you’ve found your game. Not only are there eight worlds, with about 6 levels apiece, you get to play through them twice. Add to that, using the Streetpass feature on your system, you can get extra small challenge levels and items by passing someone else with the game. So, for all of you with a 3DS sitting on their shelf out there, go and buy this game, it deserves to be purchased and you deserve to have it. If you don’t have one yet, then it’s something that will make a great addition to your library when you decide to get one.