Category Archives: do want

Some great Nintendo DS games yet to come

I don’t know about you, but I kind of thought that great Nintendo DS games came to a stop with Monster Tale back in March 2011, and that all further energy and expenses were put towards making the Nintendo 3DS a roaring success. That latter hope has not worked out quite like the big Nintendo head-honchos would’ve liked, and any glimmer of light that gamers would get another title for the bereft DS handheld as high quality as The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks or Professor Layton and the Unwound Future or Dragon Quest IX seemed unlikely.

However, strangely, there seems to be a number of great titles coming out in the next few months, even during the rebirth of the 3DS, and I’m all for this. In fact, these are the sort of games that will get played in my Nintendo DS Lite, as playing them in the 3DS might feel a bit like betrayal. They were created for the DS; that is their home, their haven. It’s only right.

Let’s take a looksie…

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2

Release date: September 19, 2011

From what I understand, the Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker series is basically Pokemon, but in a universe where classic blue slimes and puns reign supreme. I found a copy of the first game the other week at GameStop for less than $10.00; haven’t got to play much of it yet as I plan to cover it for The First Hour. However, if it’s anything like the monster battling mini-element from the end of Dragon Quest VIII, I’ll be pleased. DQM: J2 seems to be more of the same, but with the usual shtick of better graphics, better online connectivity, and huger monsters, the kind that take up both screens.

Kirby: Mass Attack

Release date: September 19, 2011

A new Kirby game is always reason for excitement. The little pink hungry puff‘s latest adventure comes with a new gimmick; he’s been turned from one Kirby into many, and you’ll use this mass of Kirby to solve puzzles, platform through levels, and fight end bosses. The fact that it’s not trying to force 3D at us or use it in some stupid way is welcoming. Seems like a fun time overall.

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter

Release date: September 27, 2011

A follow-up to Tail Concerto, a PlayStation game I actually did get to try out as a youngling. It was just a demo level and entirely in Japanese, but still…the dang thing resonated with me so well that I still flash back to it from time to time. It focused around Waffle Ryebread, a dog police officer out to stop the nefarious workings of a cat named Fool. Silly stuff, but there was such confidence in the world-building that I bought in, and the same effect seems to be happening here with Solatorobo: Red the Hunter. Maybe deep down–really deep down–I’m a furry fan. I dunno. Kind of hope not. I just want to play a videogame about a doggy sky hunter and his sister as they try to steal a special file from an airship called Hindenburg. That’s totally normal.

And that’s three great-looking titles that don’t need 3D witchery to enhance their fun (and price tag). I’m definitely interested in picking up all three whenever they come out. Which is in…uh…all of them in September, two on the same day. Dang it. We’ll see what’s possible. If anything, since I just picked up Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker for cheapy cheap, I might forgo the newest edition until the timing and financial situation is better. But still, two desirable and quality DS games come out next month, and that’s definitely something to pay attention to, gamers and game developers alike.

Witness that I am intrigued over Jonathan Blow’s The Witness

Great, truly unique puzzles are hard to come by these days. We’ve seemingly done everything across a myriad of videogames spanning the past, present, and future: move blocks, match colored gems, flip switches, use portals to our advantage, bend time,  and so on. I thought the cloning and time-heavy puzzles in The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom were fantastic, excruciatingly tricky and humbling. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge had a few brain-twisters, too. But other than that, it’s all been pretty ho-hum, and yes, I’ve not yet played Braid, but do plan to soon.

And so with that said, I’m pretty excited about The Witness, Jonathan Blow’s next game after Braid, and I’ve barely seen much of it in action, just read several lengthy, praising articles over the last couple of days about the stuck-on-an-island puzzler. Which is all about discovery, and listening, and looking–and seeing. Seeing is solving.

The Witness has a Myst feel to it, playing from a first-person perspective and exploring a lush, but isolated and empty island. Why is it people-less? Who are you, anyways? What’s with all the tech? Questions, quizzical uncertainties, a pristine and thriving locale void of human life…only one way to figure it all out, and that’s to go exploring, picking up recordings for deeper insight. There are blue computer screens littered across the island, and they all seem to be connected to a door; to open the door, a player must draw a line from point A to point B, and that sounds simple, but it seems like the kind of thing that can grow dangerously difficult over time. Some of the answers for the line are actually found by looking around at the island; that group of trees, perhaps, with their weird-looking branches; that bird chirping overhead, chirping high then low then high again; these are not just bits of nature, they are answers. Seeing is solving.

It sounds fantastic. However, if I’m truly going to love The Witness, I’m going to have to stop reading about it, as I don’t want to know all the puzzle solutions long and before it even comes out. The lesser known, the better.

And here’s some lo-fi video footage of the game in motion:

Top five E3 2011 announced games that I desperately do want

I’ve never really paid too much attention to E3 in the past, but this year I got the itch, and I actually watched some of the press conferences live over the Interwebz as they happened and, thanks to the killer kids at GiantBomb, listened to many podcasts and interviews, as well as devoured every bit of data put out there. And there was a lot to be put…out. Um, that sentence didn’t work as well as I’d have liked, but whatever. Let’s move on.

Videogames! They’re always coming out, and I always want ’em. And while E3 is usually about the big names, the same ol’ shooters and Kinect jazz hands and next iterations in the big name franchises, there’s also a lot of smaller titles there. Sure, they don’t get the same coverage and applause, but dang it, they should. A lot of them have potential, I promise. More so than the Wii U “experiences” at least.

Here’s the top five games that debuted or were announced at E3 2011 that I want to gobble gobble in the near future. Well, probably not the near future, as many of these titles are still a ways off, but a gamerboy can dream.

5. OverStrike

Insomniac Games is one of my favorite developers, and one of the big losses of choosing the Xbox 360 over the PlayStation 3 was losing access to the wonderful Ratchet & Clank series. So, when the rumormill started churning recently, and word was that Insomniac Games was going to announce a new multiplatform game, well…I got excited. Welcome, OverStrike! It’s not a shared Ratchet & Clank title, but it still focuses on crazy weapons, as well as class-based shooting. I’m usually not fans of these types of games, but knowing what kind of creative team is behind it is more enough for me. Okay, I’m in.

4. Luigi’s Mansion 2

The Internet has been quick to remind us all that the original Luigi’s Mansion was not as good as we are remembering it to be, but phooey on them. I thoroughly enjoyed Luigi’s Mansion, thinking it to be a great change of pace, giving the other brother some love. Hearing him call out for Mario always got a chuckle in the room. Plus, I believe in ghosts, and they should all be vacuumed up for being very real things that really scare me. Think this will be perfect on the 3DS; a little ghost-busting on the go. Okay, I’m in.

3. LEGO City Stories

An open-world GTA-esque game featuring…LEGO characters. Y’all know my deep love for the LEGO games, and y’all know my deep hatred for the majority of GTA-like games. Hopefully, this fusion will be a game-changer. Maybe because it won’t be so serious. The fact that it’s coming out for the 3DS is interesting; hopefully they can fit an entire seamless city on one of those wee carts. Okay, I’m cautiously in.

2. Rayman: Origins

It looks simply gorgeous, retains the same fun and strong side-scrolling gameplay, and is going to allow for user-generated levels. Okay, I’m in.

1. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

Sonofabitch, now I need to buy a PlayStation 3. Okay, after I rob a bank, I’m in.

What newly announced games are y’all excited for? Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension? Shame on you, Grinding Down readers.

A delicious taste of L.A. Noire’s 1940s-esque soundtrack

I did not pay much attention to L.A. Noire simply because I dismissed it early on as a 1940s era Grand Theft Auto, which, as any loyal Grinding Down reader will know, is not my favorite game. I mean, you can see the Rockstar Games touch very clearly in its latest title, from the dynamic and stylized cutscenes to the minimap to their passion about having a stellar soundtrack. That last thing is not a bad thing.

Anyways, reviews are out, and besides having to constantly warn gamers that you can’t run over prostitutes in this one (aw shucks), the verdict seems to be that L.A. Noire is much more of an adventure game than a drive-and-shoot title. No random rampages allowed. Gameplay is more focused on investigating a crime scene, talking to witnesses, and piecing together an answer. Yes, there’s still some of those annoying “tail a car, but don’t get caught” missions, as well as some shootouts, but more or less, it’s all about the story and one man’s drive to bring wrongdoers to justice. I can get behind that. Considering the lack of strong, narrative-driven titles harkening back to the point-and-click genre these days, I might have to actually get this game–but not quite yet. I still have plenty of titles to work through, but once I’ve cleared a total of, say, 25 games for 2011, then I might go out and give post-WWII Los Angeles a try.

Oh, and about that soundtrack. It’s fantastic. You can preview six songs from L.A. Noire thanks to SoundCloud:

My personal favorite is the remix of Ella Fiztgerald and Louis Jordan’s “Stone Cold Dead in the Market.” The others are great, dancy remixes of classic, old-time tunes. Doesn’t necessarily evoke the sense of police work, but does transport one back to a simpler time, to smoke-filled rooms, to dangerous women in dangerous outfits, to falling victim to gorgeous, dreamy sounds, to finding love and chasing it down.

Videogames I’m definitely buying in 2011

I kind of thought this would be a light year for DO WANT games, but with each day that hits anew I’m finding myself becoming intrigued more and more with shiny new titles. Too many to remember by remembering alone at this point, which is why it’s great that I have this Grinding Down blog, which is now being used as a forthcoming grocery list, but hey, it still loves me. That said, let’s get to the meat of this post, the tenderloin, the chicken cutlet, the bacon bits.

Here’s everything I’m planning to purchase this year videogame-wise so long as I don’t get mugged in a back alley:

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

Release date: May 10, 2011

I’ll have some demo impressions up soon for this one, but I’m pleased from what I’ve already gotten to experience. Sure, it’s the same formula over and over, but it always works for me, and they absolutely nailed the way LEGO Jack Sparrow runs. And it’s one of the franchises perfect for playing through co-op, especially with a loved one. Also, Tara already suggested the next great franchise to LEGO-ize: Back to the Future! Mmm-hmm.

Bastion

Release date: Q3 2011, but I’m hoping for early summer

Like a painting brought to life, Bastion looks simply beautiful. That would be enough to get me interested, but then I learned it’s a mix of action elements and RPG elements. Sold!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Release date: August 23, 2011

Any game that can be played in multiple ways is a good game to me. Variety trumps linearity. Especially if one of those ways is all about being sneaky and non-confrontational. It kind of reminds me of Fallout 3 in that sense, but shinier, slicker, with more vibrant highlighting. I should, at some point, go back and play some Deus Ex: The Conspiracy even if it hasn’t aged too well.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Release date: November 11, 2011 (11.11.11 for the cool people)

Pretty sure I won’t be the only one picking this up in November. It’s only a huge followup to a huge followup. I’m very interested to see what’s changed from Oblivion to Skyrim, as I was always fond of exploring that game’s world, but found the combat and quest system to be a bit disappointing. Here’s hoping, but it’s gonna be epic no doubt.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Release date: November 2011

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was certainly a surprise. It was not, as many feared, just a quick cash-in on a building franchise. In fact, it only made the claim truer that, yes, Ubisoft, knew what it was doing with its stabby-stab games. Multiplayer is back, and that’s great as it’s some of the only multiplayer I’ve played and enjoyed. But when is Assassin’s Creed III really coming out?

Animal Crossing 3DS (no official title yet)

Release date: August 2, 2011

Very few details exist, but you’ll supposedly be the mayor of the town in the next iteration. Maybe that will lead to more control over shops and such. Either way, this’ll give me a reason to buy a 3DS game. Buuuuuurn. I think they could do neat things to with Play Coins and StreetPass functionality, but time will tell. If it’s the same freakin’ game all over again, I’m swearing off the series for good.

Fantasy Life

Release date: Sometime in 2011

Fantasy Life is turning out to not be the Fantasy Life I remember seeing previews for many moons back. It’s instead getting revamped for the Nintendo 3DS, and while the art style and graphics have sadly changed, here’s hoping the gameplay–a life sim in a medieval fantasy setting–hasn’t. I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to sell fruit in an open market to a range of peasants.

That’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few games, and I’m sure I’ll want another five within a few weeks, but such is the life of a gamer, I guess. Naturally, I can’t list impulse buys, Fallout: New Vegas DLC, and games to add to my PlayStation 2 collection as they go on sale, but yeah…games. I love ’em.

Sign me up for Bastion based on its beautiful art alone

Seems like I can’t go a day without coming across a new game that intrigues me and makes me go, “Yeah, Pauly, ya big gaming addict…that’s something you’ll probably like.”

Today’s like du jour is called Bastion, which I guess actually began its life cycle as a PC game, but it’ll be coming to Xbox Live somewhere around Q3 2011. It stars a silent kid known as, well, the Kid, who is trying to create the Bastion, a safe haven of sorts where his post-apocalyptic city pals can go to for protection, especially after the recent event known as the Calamity Split, which splintered the world into floating islands. It’s described as a role-playing action game, and it looks beyond stunning. Vibrant colors and a world in constant motion, as the ground reassembles as the Kid moves forward, which is pretty amazing to see as it happens, help make this game look freakin’ alive. And there’s story choices, too, dynamically changing how your playthrough happens and how Bastion‘s narrator reacts; an Achievement exists for completing New Game+, which is always a good thing, and makes picking different choices all the more easy.

Go on. Fall to your knees:

No more details are available on price and exact release date. Will be keeping my eyes peeled for this as the days creep on by.

Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas drops this month, honestly

It’s been some pretty quiet months since Fallout: New Vegas‘ first DLC Dead Money came out, and it seems like Bethesda is ready to open the so-called content floodgates. The next piece of DLC is called Honest Hearts, and will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on May 17, 2011. There’s also two other chunks of DLC–Old World Blues and Lonesome Road–primed for future V.A.T.S.ing headshots, coming over the next few months.

Here’s what Big B has to say about it all:

Honest Hearts™Old World Blues™ and Lonesome Road™ will further expand upon Fallout: New VegasFallout: New Vegas takes all the action, humor and post-apocalyptic grime and grit of this legendary series, and raises the stakes.

Available on May 17, Honest Hearts takes you on an expedition to the unspoiled wilderness of Utah’s Zion National Park. Things go horribly wrong when your caravan is ambushed by a tribal raiding band. As you try to find a way back to the Mojave, you become embroiled in a war between tribes and a conflict between a New Canaanite missionary and the mysterious Burned Man. The decisions you make will determine the fate of Zion.

In Old World Blues, releasing in June, you will discover how some of the Mojave’s mutated monsters came to be when you unwittingly become a lab rat in a science experiment gone awry. You’ll need to scour the Pre-War research centers of the Big Empty in search of technology to turn the tables on your kidnappers or join forces with them against an even greater threat.

Lonesome Road, available in July, brings the courier’s story full circle when you are contacted by the original Courier Six, a man by the name of Ulysses who refused to deliver the Platinum Chip at the start of New Vegas. In his transmission, Ulysses promises the answer as to why, but only if you take one last job –a job that leads you into the depths of the hurricane-swept canyons of the Divide, a landscape torn apart by earthquakes and violent storms. The road to the Divide is a long and treacherous one, and of the few to ever walk the road, none have ever returned.

Reviews of Fallout: New Vegas have called the game as “an utterly essential purchase” (MSN UK) and as “addictively, rambunctiously fun” (Entertainment Weekly). The Associated Press awarded it a 4 out of 4 stars and said “Bottom Line: It’s a Blast”, while GameSpy gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and called Fallout: New Vegas “one of the best games of the year.”

Looks like each DLC will be priced at 800 Microsoft Points, too. So…May, June, and then July. Kind of an odd schedule, but I guess at this point, what with all the problems the vanilla game has been having, it’s better to give than hold back.

Looks like it’s also safe to download that new patch, too. Now I’ve got even more reason to work on my third playthrough character. I really didn’t have a good time with Dead Money, but Honest Hearts–and more importantly, Old World Blues with its focus on crazy mutated ghoulies–sound promising.

Get excited for a free Excitebike on the 3DS

Here’s something cool: when the Nintendo 3DS eShop finally does reveal itself, us 3DS owners will be treated to a free, downloadable copy of Excitebike. And not just that ol’ Excitebike from eons past, no. This is a new version, specially tailored to show off some of the 3D effects this 3DS is somewhat known for. Since it’s free, that’s a-okay. I mean, they could cover the sweet rides in glitter and periwinkle streamers and throw some training wheels on every bike so long as it was free; us diligent supporters of Nintendo’s handheld consoles deserve something for buying early and waiting awhile, right? Right-o.

This isn’t just a shot in the dark either. Basically, for 3DS owners, it’s our first experience with the “3D Classics” line, wherein classic games are updated with new, 3D effects. Let’s hope they do Tennis or Marble Madness next. Some websites are saying this deal might be in Japan only; I sure hope not.

My wife recently bought Excitebike from the Wii’s virtual console, and she had a blast tumbling and turning over as she miscalculated jumps and landings. Now I gotta go home and play a little just to refresh my horrible motorbike skills. At least there’s now two reasons to look forward to this eShop launching: this and Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version. I think I already said this, but hurry up, late May!

Today just might be Monster Tale’s day

Monster Tale is an adorable Metroidvania game that, if the Internet is to be believed, comes out today on March 22, 2011. A few months back, I originally saw a projected release date of March 1, 2011, and when that day came and went without so much as a Monster Short Story, I tracked down some peeps at Majesco Entertainment and asked them if they could kindly spoil the release date as all the Internet was then saying was some time in March 2011. The nice peeps at Majesco were nice and got back to me, but they could only confirm that the Internet was to be trusted. A couple days later I noticed that both GiantBomb and IGN had updated their respective pages to indicate that today is Monster Tale‘s day.

Alas, I’m not going to rush out to the stores later and see if it’s sitting high and mighty on their NEW RELEASES shelves for several reasons. 1) I busted up my back golfing over the weekend and cannot physically rush anywhere 2) I’m still plugging away at several other Nintendo DS games, namely Pokemon White and Radiant Historia, which both require devotion and time 3) and lastly, the nice peeps over at Majesco Entertainment asked for my mailing information after I emailed them so that they could put my on the request list.

What does that mean? I don’t really know. But maybe they took a look at my blog and liked what they saw and want to send me a copy to review. I’ll wait a few days to see if anything arrives, but if nothing comes by the end of the month, I’ll most likely go grab a copy so that I’m well stocked for my MoCCA trip to New York City the second weekend of April.

Man, looking at some of these screenshots again reminds of just how adorable this game is gonna be. I’m holding out hope that it’s a crazy deep adventure with a cute skin. Guess we’ll find out soon enough…

Pre-ordered that obscure Radiant Historia game

I am not kidding when I say that the last time I pre-ordered a game was back in 1997 for Final Fantasy VII, and the throw-in bonus was a t-shirt that I turned into a bedtime shirt and wore until it became too faded and frayed for a human boy to possibly wear any longer. That was, uh…some 14 years ago. Wait, is that right? Let’s see. 2011 minus 1997…carry the three…divide by six…multiply by a dozen childhood nostalgic tears. Yup, looks like that was about 14 years ago. How depressing!

Radiant Historia gets the honor of being the second game I’ve ever pre-ordered in my entire gaming life. And naturally, it went down oddly. Here’s a dramatic recreation for y’all:

Pauly: Hi, do you guys do anything special for pre-ordering Radiant Historia? I read something about a soundtrack being included.
GameStop Guy: Wow, yeah. I think we do. Let me check. You’re the first person to ask us about that game actually.
Pauly: Really? The first?
GameStop Guy: Yup. At least when I’m working. [Hits the keyboard with his fingers.] Yeah, if you pre-order, you get a music CD. Don’t know how much music is on it.
Pauly: Okay, great. I’d like to pre-order it then.

And then he asked me this, the emphasis his doing:

GameStop Guy: So, are there any other, uh, obscure games you’d like to pre-order today? How about Okamiden?
Pauly: No, I’m good. Thanks though.

Obscure. What an interesting word choice for Radiant Historia. I mean, yeah, I guess it’s a little off the beaten path, but it still seems to be a heavy hitter this month for the Nintendo DS. March 2011 is gonna be a doozy for the system, with Pokemon Black/White, Monster Tale, and the 3DS coming out, but for right now, Radiant Historia is sitting pretty with little to no direct competition. At least, I certainly hope the game doesn’t end up in retail obscurity. It’s too pretty for a life like that:

Twelve days to go! TWELVE!!!