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by Ethos

Metroid: Other M Preview

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Like I told you guys, I got to go see Metroid: Other M on Friday. I watched a 20 minute demo of mostly cutscenes with a little gameplay, then got to play about 15 minutes myself consisting of only gameplay.

The Expected
To be honest, I don’t really know what I was expecting. I’ve never been a massive Metroid fan, and I only really got into the Prime series when I tried out the Trilogy version. Even then, I didn’t get far into it before I got the thing stolen and had to rebuy it then return it to my friend. Other M appears to be catering to both fans of Prime (the 3D perspective) and the old side-scrolling adventures (2D and only using the Wiimote). Which I knew already, so I suppose I was expecting that. But the bulk of my feelings from this event fall into the other two categories.

The Unexpected
Although I knew that Other M was supposed to be story heavy, I suppose I thought that meant “for Nintendo”. The opening cutscene was epic and lengthy, and after the game started, they didn’t really let up. It was a little off-putting, but after I let myself relax, I found that I was enjoying the scenes. The voice acting and writing isn’t the greatest, but like Kingdom Hearts it appears to be sincere and character focused enough for me to get into it anyway. I like how the focus was on Samus’ point of view, and how she would narrate her feelings and reactions to the situations and people around her. There’s obviously more than enough room for the story and scenes to be largely terrible, but they were better than I was expecting.

In terms of gameplay, I was happily surprised to find that the 2D gameplay doesn’t seem to be restrictive in terms of traditional Metroid exploration. It’s because you can actually move in and out of the environments, making it more like 2 and a half D, as much as I dislike that term.

Another pleasant surprise was how intuitive the transition between 2D and 3D was. Pointing at the screen then going back to the SNES-style position was smooth as butter, and alleviated my fears of fighting with the controls in that respect.

2D?

The Mixed
Despite the smooth transition between perspectives, I’m still not sold on it. While I never got annoyed during the demo, I’m hesitant to say that I don’t expect to get frustrated that I can’t move around while in first person, especially because of the similar visual look to the Prime series.

I mean, the game at least seemed to react appropriately depending on your choice of perspective. 2D combat is frantic and fast, and the 3D seems to be more forgiving in terms of timing, but requires precise aiming as opposed to the auto-aim in 2D mode. That, however, doesn’t mean that the 3D perspective adds anything yet, and I’m completely unconvinced so far. Like always, I’m willing to change my mind, and I hope I end up liking it.

The only thing that struck me as outright bad was something of relatively little consequence to the experience. The way Other M handles Samus’ suit and weapon upgrades is that she’ll only use the equipment that she’s authorized to use. That’s dumb and will likely take me out of the game every time a little message pops up that says “Samus is choosing not to use her missiles out of respect for Captain Whoever’s orders”. Losing all your power-ups at the beginning of the game is just as silly, but at least it only happens once.

Another thing I should mention is that Nintendo made sure to point out that despite the heavy focus on story, Metroid: Other M will retain its traditional mood of loneliness. And from the little I saw, that actually appears to be true. The cutscenes are full of people, but the levels are solitary and have a classic Metroid feel. Only one boss battle included other characters, but it didn’t detract from the mood for me.

So that’s it. The demo made me cautiously optimistic for the title. At this point, it really could go either way.

Scatter Storming. Issue #036

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Here we go, I’m on a decent roll. A little hungry and I have more caffeine in my system than food, but a promise is a promise, so here is post 2 of 3!

What do you think of the new “Gaming Rambles” part of the Scatter Storming logo, by the way? I’m pretty much already completely sold on it. But let’s talk games.

A Crack in Time Wastes Nine -
I don’t know what possessed me to pick up Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. I had played a bit of Tools of Destruction and while I had some fun, it didn’t entice me to the series in the least. Still, I saw a used copy, and went for it.

It turns out that the game is quite fun and really addictive. I realize I’m about 8 years late to the party, but the game really keeps things fresh by consistently giving access to new – and usually increasingly bizarre – weapons that all have unique and useful attributes. Typically I’m the guy who finds one weapon and sticks with it, but everything is so much fun, that I’m really trying everything out and keeping things fresh.

Not just that, but the game has a good balance of main and side missions that allow for some solid pacing and plenty of distractions. Visually, it’s vibrant and detailed, and the load times are pleasantly hidden when traversing the universe and landing on the mini-planets.

Not just that, but it looks to be the first game that I’ll Platinum. I know the Trophy race with Abe80 is basically off now, but I’d be kicking his ass!

Given all that, however, there are still a few weird control quirks, and it’s generally a little easy (I’m playing on Hard). Also, it’s basically just like the other 98732 titles from what I hear. Although, like I mentioned, I’m enjoying this a great deal more than Tools of Destruction.

So A Crack in Time was a good decision, but my time at the game store yielded some not-so-great decisions.

Gorgeous.

Gorgeous.

Yup, I “upgraded” to PS3 -
Shut up. My 360 is basically my Mass Effect/Rock Band machine now – excepting some XBLA titles – and I regret buying some games for the system instead of my PS3. So I sold the 2008 Prince of Persia and Eternal Sonata to get the PS3 versions. Although there are notable issues with the 2008 PoP, I think Riddles gives it too hard of a time. I think it is stunning visually, and is actually really fun and quite beautiful after the lands are healed. Whenever I’d crave playing it again, however, I just wouldn’t because that would mean turning on my 360, letting it warm up, and hoping it wouldn’t crash. It’s really not that bad, but I like having everything on my system of choice unless there is a title like Mass Effect.

Eternal Sonata, however, is a bit more difficult to defend.

The characters are annoying as fuck, the story takes itself too seriously, and the gameplay is simplistic. Still, I don’t hate it like some. I think it’s another great looking game, and I’m seriously missing a RPG to fall asleep playing. FFXIII is certainly not that, and Star Ocean’s battle system takes too much skill. Also, the PS3 version of ES has more content and an additional character, so I suppose it’s the definitive version. Also, it was cheap (so was PoP).

Anyway, there’s that. Let’s move on to make fun of Riddles to distract from my idiotic tendencies.

Mono shmono -
Dear Riddles, you didn’t have a single Chai during one of Riddlethos’ greatest weeks, and now – when you’re “too sick” to post anything – you haven’t had an iced latte either. I’ve had three! And I’m just as broke as you, if not more! Whateva! I didn’t make fun of you during your sabbatical, so I’m bringing it back!

Well that’s all I’ve got. If you’re wondering, I haven’t used that exact picture in a Scatter Storming before, but I have used one from the same series. NOW YOU KNOW!

Iced Latte Count: 3

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #011

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

All right, here goes. The first in a collection of catch-up posts for this week. Let’s jump into this week’s news. Or at least the news that caught my eye.

We Will Likely be Able to See This Game At Last (Guardian)!

Thank fuck. I think most people were surprised that The Last Guardian was a complete no-show during E3. Not even old footage during a sizzle reel. I know that Team Ico takes its sweet time with its games, but it was a disappointing to not even get a small update. After E3, everybody looked ahead to the Tokyo Game Show as the new platform to hopefully show off the anticipated title. Luckily, it is now more promising than ever. The head of Team Ico, Fumito Ueda, replied to a fan on Twitter saying, “We should be able to show something at Tokyo Game Show, so look forward to it.” While he did not specifically mention The Last Guardian, I can’t imagine he was talking about anything else.

Except maybe a Team Ico HD Collection. Which wouldn’t be so bad either.

Either way, TGS is in about a month, so clench your fists with excitement until then!
(IGN)

I'm guessing this game has an all-female development team

Nippon Ichi Has More Financial Trouble; Cancel Games, Spank Women as Punishment

Poor Nippon Ichi. Despite their popular Disgaea series, their wealth of acutely bizarre other titles haven’t been as friendly in the sales department. As such, the company has been in some financial trouble recently, experiencing a 40% drop in sales this quarter when compared to the same period last year. Although they technically still made a profit, restructuring and ongoing money problems affect that figure.

To try to curb a tailspin, Nippon Ichi has cancelled three titles that they say have been in development since last year and will take a 21 million yen loss for it. Although refusing to reveal the titles, they did cite expected difficulty achieving high sales and quality as the reason for the cancellations.

In spite of this news, the company continues to work on a PSP RPG titled Criminal Girls. The premise is that a group of girls have been banished to hell and you must train them physically and mentally to help them back to the land of the living. How does one train these generously proportioned women? By spanking and massaging them, of course!

I wonder what sort of projects they cancelled…
(IGN)

Badass

Batman And The City

Everybody was talking about how Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 was a dumb name on account of the game not actually taking place in the fictitious prison. Well apparently Rocksteady Studios thought the same thing because Warner Brothers recently announced the new name, Batman: Arkham City. While the city is indeed Gotham, it is apparently the new home for all the maximum security criminals that Gotham – and Batman – seem to attract.

You – like me – might be wondering whose bright idea it was to bring all the crazy-ass criminals of the Batman universe closer to the civilians, but there is no answer yet. No further information was given except that the game should be releasing next Fall for PS3, 360, and PC. Oh, and Catwoman seems to be playing a significant part, so… there’s that.
(IGN)

QUICKIES:

Birth by Sleep Preview- This isn’t really news, but it’s nice to see such a positive impression from a Kingdom Hearts fan.

Sony Rips it Up in Japan - PS3 and PSP own that island!

There you go, post one of at least 3 on this glorious day of content!

Yeahyeah, standby.

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

I played Metroid and have been playing games all weekend, actually. I’ve even had more Iced Lattes. I’ll do my best to catch you all up tomorrow. Riddles has mono, so just hold your horses, everyone.

Iced Latte Count: 2

Metroid: Other M tomorrow

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Sorry guys, I’ve been back to work, and it’s weirding me out! And Riddles is still sick.

However, I do get to see Metroid: Dumb Name tomorrow, so I wanted to come to you guys to see if you have any questions that you want me to ask. If there’s good stuff that I haven’t thought of, I’ll make sure to include it when I interview the PR dude.

Iced Latte Count: 1

Thank you, destructoid.com

It’s been too long.

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

It’s been 11 months since Riddlethos had a week dedicated to a Starbucks drink. And since Riddles is tied up with limited internet access and we never decided on a week, I took the opportunity to snatch creative control.

Not only that, but it’s been a fucking ridiculously hot summer in Toronto. Really disgusting. I might be broke, but every once in a while, it’s worth it to treat myself to an iced double tall vanilla light ice latte. Perfection. Yes, it’s a long name, but a lot of those modifiers actually make the drink easier to make.

Anyway, I go back to work tomorrow, so expect posts in my boredom.

Iced Latte Count: 0