CAPCOM: Mega Man Rebooted

I’ve got a hunch.

Here’s the long of it; A new prediction for what’s coming out of Capcom in the next few years.

Capcom has a Mega Man and a Ryu amiibo.  Amiibo are basically the new legalized crack cocaine.  The new Beanie Babies.  Possibly even the new Pokémon.  One of the best things about amiibo is that third parties are allowed to take advantage of their powerful and valuable I.P.s through amiibo figurines of their characters.

If Capcom doesn’t find a good way to use them in Nintendo’s games, amiibo lose value as a whole.  Sure they’re collectable figurines, but they were marketed as collectible figurines for people who play video-games, for use with said video games. Taking the video games out of the equation removes some of the incentive Nintendo has for making amiibo (to ease the costs of making video games), and the incentive the public has to buy Nintendo games (more stuff that their amiibo are compatible with).

While Inafune is off being a business man and not a creator, Capcom can bring Mega Man the rest of the way back from obscurity (a job that Super Smash Bros. has already done half the work for).
Mega Man Legends 3,
Mega Man X: The New Power Fighters,
Mega Man X Command Mission 2,
Mega Man X9,
a New Mega Man sidescroller-fighting-platformer-series with Inti Creates,
a new online eSport in the vein of Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force.
Almost anything would work to bring the Mega Man fans and celebrators to the stores if it’s well-crafted (as long as it’s not a Mega Man 11 in the same vein as 9 and 10).  Whatever it is, make it Wii U exclusive, give it Mega Man amiibo support, add some 3DS Download Play for those friends that are on the fence about getting themselves a Wii U and want a small sample of the games they could be playing on it, and you have a guaranteed Multi-Million Seller on a home console again, like Monster Hunter Tri.

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How To Better: Lucadian Chronicles


Lucadian Chronicles was a pleasant surprise.  Out of nowhere, a card-battle RPG showed up with a simple, yet deceptively deep and engaging formula, Miiverse integration, online multiplayer, and (probably most importantly of all) NO MICROTRANSACTIONS!  That’s right, folks, you do not buy electronic card packs with real money.  You earn cards by actually playing the game and dealing with in-game currencies only.

Best of all, the game is free on the Nintendo Wii U eShop. They didn’t even release a demo version; you’re able to play a meaty set of short campaigns, and the online multiplayer, without paying even so much as a single penny.
That means, GO GET IT, right now.
For those of you that have gotten it and at least played through the free campaigns, here’s what I’ve been able to gather in my short playtime on how this fantastic start for indie developer Dark Roast Entertainment can be further improved.

Miiverse integration improvements.  Closing the “Open the Miiverse Application?” Dialogue before opening Miiverse so that screenshots can be posted without that dialogue in the way.  Allowing players to “Yeah” posts, and see comment-threads without launching the Miiverse app (ie: to see whether the response they were going to post has already been posted), and share screenshots in their posts from the game.  These are about the only things missing from the Miiverse integration used in Lucadian Chronicles.  Other than that, it’s a nice surprise for most players when posts start appearing over points on the map, or cards in your collection while you play. Having Miiverse woven into this title removes a lot of the isolated feeling of playing a single player game.

Less Railroading. This might be a gripe that only applies to the free version, but it feels like the cards you receive, and the pace at which you receive them is very controlled.  There’s not much room for the player to explore and carve his own path out in the world you’ve laid out for him.  You can’t take draft cards into the campaign, you can’t find other sources of money other than carefully measured side paths, it’s almost as bad as “the linear RPG”, or the “cinematic experiences” that plague the game industry today when it comes to player choices and the feel of playing a video game.  I’m not asking for an open-world, but I would like to occasionally feel like I’ve found a stupidly powerful card that I’m not supposed to have yet, or conversely, feel like I’ve messed up and made a bad deal with an NPC, and have to deal with an extra challenge or an alternate story branch as a consequence.

Save decks, and quick-build previously saved decks.  Although the decks are only 5 or 6 cards in size, it would be nice to be able to call on your favourite configurations without searching through your entire collection to rebuild them when battle-conditions favour them.

Alternate game modes.  Some of the elements of this game seem to be inspired by Magic: The Gathering, and one of the best ways M:TG has lasted the decades it has was that its player-base has found new ways, new rules, and new games to play with their cards. Adding game modes to Lucadian Chronicles will allow players to enjoy a greater depth in their card collection.

Shiny / Glittery cards. The Pokemon TCG has contrived a clever way to enjoy the look of those rare foil-stamped cards in a subtle way that doesn’t detract or distract from the game itself.  Personally, I think it’s a new standard for card-based video games. Lucadian Chronicles could one up this new standard by animating their cards or simulating holograms or other such effects.

Control enhancements. For left-handed players, allow us to scroll the map with the right stick while our left-hand holds the stylus.  When the gamepad battery runs low, allow us to switch to the Wii remote and nunchuck to manipulate cards on-screen via the pointer and A+B, and scroll with the nunchuck stick, or Wiimote D-pad.

Saving replays, uploading them to Youtube.  With the surge of Let’s Plays, a great way to get the word out about this game would be to allow players to upload their best victories from within the game itself. Embedding these posts in Miiverse would be a great way to show ailing players how to strategize for tougher battles.

As usual, if you can find other ways in which this already fantastic game can be improved, please leave a comment.

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Top ∞ Games that should have been made for the Wii

Throughout the 7th generation of console gaming, I would see some game announcements that looked fantastic!  …until they later announced that the game would not be going to the Wii, eschewing Wii motion control in favour of a game you could essentially play on a 3rd or 4th gen console, but with the gimmicks of 720p15 HD graphics, an overinflated price tag, day-1 pay-DLC, and season-passes.  Developers were more enthralled with scamming the gaming audience during the 7th generation rather than actually innovating in the game-space, and it has cost some of them a lot of money by underestimating Nintendo’s Wii.  Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistake, and that they put their best work forward for the Wii U.

With that said, here are the Top ∞ Games that should have been made for the Wii (and should be made for the Wii U).  Why use the “infinity” symbol instead of a simple top-ten? Because there are a lot of games to add to this list that would benefit from using the unique features of the Wii and Wii U hardware.  These in particular are on top of the reasons that any game should have been made for the Wii, those being mainly:
1. Nintendo has an audience that’s significantly more numerous and significantly more active in every gaming region around the world.
2. The Nintendo audience tends to inform themselves thoroughly about a game before spreading the good word (or bad) about it, allowing developers’ better games to enjoy long-tail sales instead of becoming a flash-in-the-pan and fizzling out within the month.

Let’s begin the list with…

I still remember the articles mentioning seasickness because of this game.Every First Person Shooter Ever Made
This is pretty much a given.  There is no FPS out there that wouldn’t have been made better had it been made with the Wii in mind.  The Wii remote’s true-aiming easily renders the dual-stick controller obsolete, as rather than tilting a stick and waiting for a reticle to move to where you want it to go, you are in direct control of where that reticle is at all times!
DOOM? Check. (including HERETIC and HEXEN). Duke Nukem? Check. Quake Arena/Live? Check. Descent? Check.  Even MOON for the DS, with its retro stylings would have made a fantastic addition to the Wii library with a sequel or enhanced port, perhaps with some connectivity.
I would rather be playing the Conduit- and Red Steel games over Team Fortress 2, over any Portal game more than once, and over any other shooter that was notable last generation despite its lack of Wii Motion aiming.

Persona 3 minus, IMHOAny Shin Megami Tensei game
Atlus Japan found that they could make a quick yen or two porting over the P.S.1 and P.S.2 Persona games to the P.S.P.  However, fans of theirs that care about game quality found the portable Persona offerings to be lacking, being little more than hasty ports, and a severe down-port in the case of Persona 3 Portable.  While the D.S. enjoyed some new titles in the form of Strange Journey and 2 games in a brand new sub-series, “Devil Survivor”, the Wii was left in the cold in a time when a solid J.R.P.G. experience on it could have brought about a resurgence in J.R.P.G. popularity around the world.

“Tales of…” Titles
It was a tale of disgrace to see this game bug-fixed and released to the smaller Playstation audience.  Rich people who had bought a P.S.3 would have no trouble shelling out 20’000 Yen for a Wii, but the Nintendo audience had the advantage of a low price and a previous Tales release, meaning that they were less likely to buy a PS3 for a Tales game, and when Graces “F” released on the PS3,  the tens of millions of Wii owners at the time weren’t convinced that they needed a PS3, and the Wii audience only grew!  The Wii enjoyed a 10-4-1 lead over the PS3 and XBox360 in Japan, so nobody can satisfactorily explain why Namco Bandai would continue supporting a console that was far behind the lead other than that they’re clinging to an outdated idea that those rival consoles still hold a significant audience.  Even Bandai Namco released a statement expressing their incorrect belief that most of their fans have Sony products, as if to pacify the 100 million Wii owners that felt ripped off by Bandai Namco’s business decisions.  It’s pretty difficult to believe that after Namco-Bandai’s generation of supporting Sony, and losing so much money in supporting Sony that Namco-Bandai had to basically kill off their Tales studio to stay afloat.

The Elder Scrolls (any)
The Elder Scrolls series actually started out by using motion-controlled combat.  More precisely, they used mouse-gestures for weapon swings.  The series was clearly destined for the Wii, but Bethesda chose to ignore their destiny, probably because they would have to run their games by a bug-testing and QA committee BEFORE release, rather than allowing themselves to sell patches.  It’s pretty clear that Bethesda doesn’t want to have to raise the quality of their software to meet or beat the likes of Monolith Soft’s “Xenoblade”, and the upcoming “X” -titled game for the Wii U, both JRPGs that take on a western style of gameplay and improve on it in every conceivable way.

Bayonetta 1
I’m writing this retroactively after the announcement was made that the sequel will be heading to the Wii U.  Certainly the audience of the Wii would have appreciated this news a lot more, (and Platinum games would have enjoyed higher sales of the first game due to the vastly greater audience) although this may have resulted in the sequel falling to multiplat status.
EDIT: Success!  Platinum Games is not only bringing Bayonetta 1 to the Wii U, but including it in a bundle with Bayonetta 2!

Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition (now Ultra Street Fighter 4)
Considering that the 3DS version of the Street Fighter 4 franchise is the best selling and most active of all editions out today, it stands to reason that the Nintendo audience would have similarly appreciated an incarnation of this game on their Wii consoles, and Capcom would have appreciated 100 million more sales. You would think that the new version, Ultra Street Fighter 4 would obviously include the Wii U, but it seems one or more of the higher ups want to see their CAPCOM fall further into failure.

Legasista, any Disgaea, and other NIS games
After Disgaea on the DS outsold the PSP version, and had better quality, better game balance, and more features to boot, you would think that NIS would continue their support by releasing Disgaea 2, 3, and 4 on the DS and Wii consoles instead of trying to artificially build an audience for them on the Playstation line.
Phantom Brave for the Wii, while getting next to no advertisement, sold as well as its late-PS2 hyped-up release, while its later follow-up on the PSP sold next to nothing comparatively.
In the case of Legasista specifically, NiS had conveniently forgotten about the possibility of drawing your character on your DS (or taking a photo with the included camera) and sending it to the Wii via their built-in wireless connection.  Most cameras use SD cards for their storage media as well, allowing the user to import photos of themselves directly from their cameras.  This was a big miss for NIS.
If NIS makes a quality Disgaea sequel for the Wii U, they are basically guaranteeing themselves that they’ll break through that elusive Million-Sale barrier, as there are many video game enthusiasts just waiting to be alerted to the kind of power-gaming RPG that only NIS has dared to produce so far.

Castlevania Portrait of Ruin or Order of Ecclesia
At the time of this post, Konami had recently mentioned trying to gauge the level of interest in Nintendo consoles for a Castlevania game.  However, they had used radically different Castlevania games from what their audience had actually wanted to see.  Whereas we wanted games similar to the DS Titles or the Virtual Console ones, we got a follow up to the Gameboy titles as a part of the “ReBirth” series, and a 3D Fighting arena-game similar to the slew of cheap anime-licensed fighters that had released the previous generation (eg: One Piece and Rave Master for the Gamecube).

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Infinite Space, The Dark Spire, and countless other R.P.G.s
The DS, after its initial drought, was drowning in RPGs.  There were frankly too many to choose from, and lots of them had to be ignored so that others could be enjoyed.  If the developers had moved these projects to the Wii instead, these titles would have enjoyed much more success.  Platinum’s lone attempt at an RPG wouldn’t have been ignored.  Golden Sun could have brought its amazing particle effects and deep story to the Wii library before Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower arrived.  The Dark Spire could have been a series for the Wii, which could have complimented the Etrian Odyssey series for the DS.  Instead, these titles ended up briefly mentioned and then forgotten as the next game came out.
EDIT: Golden Sun is available on the Wii U Virtual Console, so that’s a start.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2
This game made it a point that it was only begrudgingly using the touch screen. When you touched a point on the screen, the cursor would slowly trundle its way towards the point you touched on the screen as long as you held that point until the cursor got there. It was clear that the developers at Square-Enix really preferred that you used the D-pad and A-button instead of the touch-screen. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 would have made a fantastic addition to the Wii, a much better game than Crystal Bearers, and a great clarification that you had the option of the Classic Controller for Classic-styled games such as these. Bigger, more detailed sprites would have conveyed game actions much more vividly. Square Enix could have saved themselves a lot of red ink during the 7th Gen by making this a Wii release, or at least following up the DS game with a Wii Final Fantasy Tactics A3 (Or Final Fantasy Tactics 2 proper).
EDIT: Now that Square Enix is fully independant from Sony, they have a golden opportunity to bring some prime software to the Wii U.  Let’s hope they don’t waste this new generation once again drowning in red ink and trying to find an audience on Sony and Microsoft consoles.

Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja and its sequel
Both the DS and Wii had a fair share of Roguelikes, with DS getting the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon titles, and Wii getting a mainline Shiren and a remake of Baroque.  Izuna was marketed with an emphasis on anime-style and fantasy-ninja flare, and that would have only benefitted with the ability of the Wii to display bigger sprites with more frames of animation. In the case of the Izuna games in particular, it would have especially benefitted from the fact that the touch screen wasn’t used, so instead of two screens to display a large-form sprite and a map, they could have large sprites on the game field, and the map displayed in the way handled by Baroque.  It’s not too late for Success to enjoy some more success with an Izuna 3 for the Wii U, or a remake of the first and/or second title in the series.

Posted in Uncategorized, Wii, RPG, D.S., Nintendo, ps3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Computer Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Better: Zen Pinball 2

Clicking here takes you to the official release announcement on their blogI never believed that pinball could become as popular as it has as of this posting, but Zen Studios has merged Pinball with video games in a way that has rarely, if ever been seen before.  Not content to merely simulate real-life pinball tables like other companies have done, they’ve created original pinball tables of their own and thrown in features that would be impossible in any pinball table you’d find in real life.  Examples include 3D Models of characters that fight each other, or grab the ball and set it on fire, targets and props that fly around the field, and balls that mimic characteristics of Marvel’s X-Men and Avengers, and in the case of the latter, even affecting how you play the board.  In addition, they have a talented musician on their team, as almost all of the songs on the tables are adrenaline pumping, or at least atmospheric.  Rarely does the music seem like it was added as an afterthought.  That said, Zen Studios has a journey to undertake if they’re going to reach for pinball perfection in the 8th Generation of console video games.  Here are a couple of ideas that come to mind, some of which may or may not have been taken from Miiverse (shifty eyes):

Allow for video on the TV with sound from the Gamepad.  Being able to do this on Darksiders II set the standard for game audio.  Countless times have I woken up in the middle of the night, craving some pinball, but alas, I couldn’t stream the sound to my ears without having to pull the whole game experience down to the gamepad.  For those of us who have HDTVs and sleeping room-mates, this is the best way to play.

More forgiving “tilt” mechanics.  Whether using a digital nudge or analogue via motion control, the “3 times and you’re out” rule seems a little bit archaic in the face of updating everything else to face off against current video games.  When a G.B.C. pinball game can allow the player to nudge the table all they like without a TILT occuring, it feels like an oversight that the programmer could simply not let the table be nudged hard enough to need a tilt rule, or perhaps allow for only especially forceful nudges to set off the tilt measure, like with real pinball machines!

Allow tables to be transferred to the 3DS via Download Play, for easy transporting, and to experience the tables with 3D Visuals
.  One person took that suggestion a step further and said that the tables transported to the 3DS could theoretically be further downloaded to other 3DSes, as Trial tables (set to kick the player out after a couple of minutes, or after a certain score is reached), to allow the player to promote the game to his or her friends.
Alternatively, sell a 2-pack: I also suggested this for Monster Hunter.  Sell the next Pinball game for both Wii U and 3DS in a pack, for 1 price.

Nintendo-exclusive tables.  This was mentioned so often on Miiverse that I had to mirror it here.  There have been suggestions for tables themed after various Nintendo franchises, The Year of Luigi, Super Smash Bros., the Waluigi Pinball track from Mario Kart, and even requests for Zen Studios to revisit Pinball games that Nintendo and other teams have made in the past such as Pokémon Pinball games, Kirby’s Pinball Land, Metroid Prime Pinball, NES Pinball, the Pin-Bot series, there are really just too many to name it seems.

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How To Better: Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Few games are as deceptively engrossing as Monster Hunter.  Some players will go through the first couple of quests, decide that the game isn’t for them, and leave it for greener-seeming pastures.  Those that stick with it, however, will find a formula more intricate than even long-standing franchises like Capcom’s own Street Fighter.  I have a hypothesis that Capcom’s dark secret regarding this franchise is that Monster Hunter started out as an attempt at a 3D tournament fighter, before the developers embraced the hunter-gatherer aspect and made this series what it is today.

Disclaimer: A lot of these suggestions are going to be bow-specific, as that was the weapon I had taken on as my main.  I welcome suggestions pertaining to other weapons in the comments section, and will most likely add them to the article!

Pheromone Paintball

Allow us to track different monsters simultaneously. This probably wouldn’t be a problem for veteran monster hunter players, but I find that when I’m fighting 2 or more large monsters at a time and I want to track them both, they both show up as pink on my map.

Remember a couple of years ago, when the big fashion item was “pheromone perfume” and “pheromone cologne”?  Scents that would change to uniquely reflect you?  Perhaps CAPCOM could crib some notes and have you upgrade your paintballs, paint shots, and paint coatings into “Pheromone Paintballs/shots/coatings” that will smell different (or rather, that will look different on your map) depending on what monster you’ve tagged with them.  To make pheromone paint, mix “Funky Pheromones” with a “Paintberry”.
Combine Pheromone Paint with a Sap Plant for a Pheromone Paintball
Combine Pheromone Paint with a Huskberry for a Pheromone Shot
Combine Pheromone Paint with a an Empty Phial for Pheromone Coating
Ever since getting easier access to BugMaker Pro for the insect box, I seem to be accumulating lots of funky pheromones whenever I go free-hunting.  This would be a good way to keep them in use.

Alternatively, hitting a monster with a Pheremone Bomb/Shot/Coating could summon a second monster of the same type to the map! Fancy kicking up the difficulty a notch?  How about getting double the chances for that rare Rathian Ruby?  Perhaps CAPCOM could allow us to use those extra pheromones to combine some devices that will attract a second Ivory Lagiacrus to the map if taking them one at a time becomes kitten-play.

Left-handed Hunters! As always, allowing the player to customize a left-handed player would be the next step in character customization improvement.  There are monsters that seem to be left-or right-oriented, as for example, the Gigginox has less of a reach on his right side than his left with his one-two bite attack.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to implement a system where the character model is simply mirrored.

More battle-analytics!  Capcom has a monster-fighting formula that makes it fun to fight the same bosses over and over and over again, getting a little better each time.  After boss battles though, they only give you a random number pertaining to a monster’s measurement from head to tail, and you can see how much time you took to take it down.  It’d be nice to see how well we targetted the weak spots and broke/severed parts, for example, or whether our team hit all his elemental weaknesses in the case of the Arzuroth or Barroth.

More Arrow coatings!  In the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo for the Wii U and 3DS, when you played with the bow, you would get a model that used most of the coatings available, leading one to believe that all bows were like this.  What a disappointment to find that for much of the real game, you could only use paint coating, and maybe one or two more, with any bow you chose!  Considering that there are tonnes of different kinds of ammo for bowguns, it’d be nice to see bows get the same treatment, even if it does take a few iterations to get it right.

More customisation for the player’s room! I had recently introduced someone to Monster Hunter via Tri for the Wii and they were enamoured by the fact that you could decorate your room with little furnishings.  It’s understandable that with all the armour options you already have, you don’t want to make the characters too customizable as it would slow down the gameplay to have to load from a database of more different faces, eyes, facial features, etc., but having more house-customization options would certainly allow players to personalize their games to a higher degree, without bogging down the network, and allow players to show off their rooms via screenshots on Miiverse and Swapnote.  Speaking of which…

Screenshots on Miiverse!  It’s baffling as to why Capcom would not allow screenshots to be posted on Miiverse.  This is definitely something that Capcom needs to allow for Monster Hunter 4.

“When an item has a different name, it takes up a different space in your pouch”: This, and other item-rules applying to the Monster Hunter series, needs to be fixed.  When you have to dance around your own rules to finish building your game, then it’s probably time for an overhaul.  What I’m referring to is the rule that you can only carry one of each trap-type in your pouch (Pitfall Trap, Shock Trap), or a certain number of bombs (Sonic Bomb, Barrel Bomb) unless you carry the components to make more, or find another trap/bomb in the field or supply box, in which case it will be named differently so that you can use it in addition to the ones you have (EZ Shock Trap, EZ Sonic Bomb),   This is also something that I have a feeling will be happening with Monster Hunter 4 already.  Personally, I’d prefer the Resident Evil 4 system of playing item-tetris to fit everything in place, especially with a touch-screen, and especially since you can just throw down a farcaster to cash-in your account items, or select “Return to Village” to empty your pouch when you’re done gathering.  On a side note, item systems probably need an update across all future RPGs:
As fun as it is to have a backpack with 99 of everything in it, it gnaws at the mind as to how such a system could have gone untouched from the SNES era in a  lot of JRPGs.
Similarly, as nice as it is to have concrete item limits for each item-slot, a different gnawing at the mind happens when you can only carry two traps, but suddenly room appears for another if it has ‘EZ’ added to its name.

Improve the aiming guide.  On the 3DS, you can use your natural depth perception to see how far the arrows will go on the aiming guide.  If you’re playing the Wii U version however, it’s difficult to judge how far the arrows go with that linear aiming guide.  Is it going through an enemy?  Will it reach that fleeing boss?  Perhaps have the guideline change colour to show distance, just as your blade-icon changes colour to show sharpness.

Chopping wood, building trap-tools and barrels.  I have a feeling that Capcom is already working on this as a part of Monster Hunter 4.  It seems a little bit inconsistent that you can make or find just about anything that you can buy, except for trap tools and the barrels used for barrel-bombs.  Being able to chop (or at least gather) wood would open up the possibilities of things you can craft in addition to those two things!  Make your own boat?  Have bows and other “bendy” weapons use wood in their components?  Make stronger arrows?  There’s a lot of experimentation to be done yet with the Monster Hunter franchise.

Not the real box, obviously, but it'd be nice...Sell a double-pack.  For those of us wanting just that little extra bit of incentive to get both the Wii U and 3DS editions of Monster Hunter 4, sell us one box containing both games, at a slight discount from buying both separately.

Better Analog support.  The 3DS Circle pad and the Wii U analogue sticks are much more precise than previous generation consoles.  However, in MH3U, this only allows us to see how badly the walking, running, and aiming was coded for the series for so long.  Allow us to sneak with our weapons out (or trudge more slowly) and better approach our enemies at varying speeds.  Allow us to move the aiming reticle / aiming guide with analogue precision (or better yet, let us use gyro-controls to aim/look as Resident Evil: Revelations did).

Use the touch-screen for the item and equipment storage boxes!  Avid hunters will amass an immense quantity of materials, and navigating that box with a d-pad or analogue stick just draws out what should be a streamlined experience. Also, rather than have a separate “Store Items” and “remove items” command, just display both boxes (or one per screen) and allow us to fling items via touch from one screen to the other, perhaps using a button to switch screens if necessary.

Refine the underwater combat.  They’ve mentioned that underwater combat won’t be making an appearance in [the first release of] Monster Hunter 4, opting instead to focus on getting air/climbing-combat working.  The point still stands that they should keep it in mind to add water-combat back into future iterations of Monster Hunter, as it added a whole new dimension of combat to the game, and it would be a generation of R&D that’d be a shame to simply throw out.

Issues that will likely not be addressed:

Adding a Z-targeting like lock-on feature.  It’s evident that the Monster Hunter system was designed that you have to position yourself and compensate for your weapons’ arcs and swings, sometimes to take down a boss and its minions in a single swipe.  Other times, you’ll have to start a weapon action early so that a monster leaps into its path once it has committed to a particular attack. Using Z-Targeting would just reduce the formula to a multiplayer 3D Zelda-clone.  Not that that would be a bad thing by itself (hint-hint, E.A.D. at Nintendo), but it wouldn’t be Monster Hunter.

A new generation of Monster Hunting is about to begin.  Let’s hope Capcom takes at least a few of these ideas into their development process.

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Could Atlus be the new Squaresoft?

If Atlus becomes a Nintendo second party, we won't have to worry about the health of JRPGs in the rest of the world for a long time

When Square famously returned their N64 development kits back in the 5th Generation of Console Gaming, they tore a JRPG-shaped hole in Nintendo.  The action damaged both companies.  Then-president of Nintendo Japan, Hiroshi Yamauchi tried to pass off the idea that RPGs weren’t needed, but the pain was felt through the gaming industry as the general audience were wooed by embedded video files, CD-quality audio, and a SNES-like controller that drew them to rival consoles.  It would take two more generations before that hole would begin to heal.

During that time,  Squaresoft’s gambit had ultimately failed them, and they ended up getting bought by their rivals Enix, who proceeded to turn Final Fantasy into the “dump-game,” to be pumped out and experimented on, while they used the research to more carefully develop Dragon Quest titles.  Measures such as this certainly lent weight to the idea that JRPGs were not a supportable genre, or that dump-games were necessary to generate the seed-money for higher quality  RPGs.

During this dark era however, something curious happened.  Atlus, previously a strong supporter of JRPGs on non-Nintendo consoles, seemed to warm up to Nintendo during the run of the Game Boy Advance.  When Nintendo released the GBA’s first RPG, Golden Sun, and proved that you could continue to make compelling RPG experiences without relying on the disc format, Atlus followed it up with their “Devil Children” titles (known here as Shin Megami Tensei: DemiKids) Later, Atlus announced a suspiciously large number of games for the DS, starting with Trauma Centre and Etrian Odyssey, and diving into the touch-screen concept headfirst.  Over the course of the whole generation, lots of new and dangerously experimental Atlus games would show up on the DS and Wii, some developed by them, some simply localized.  Baroque.  Shiren the Wanderer. Trauma Team.  Three games in the Etrian Odyssey series and two more first person RPGs.  Most notably, they developed a game in their core “Shin Megami Tensei” franchise. A lot of players took Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey to effectively be S.M.T.4 at the time, due to it taking on the name and patterns of the core S.M.T. titles and updating them with modern technology.

When the 3DS came out, so did more support from Atlus, right from the launch announcement.  3 titles in Atlus’ S.M.T. franchise were announced, which turned out to be two remixes (Devil Survivor Overclocked and Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, the latter of which was to be localized for the first time) and the actual S.M.T.4, a brand new game.  Soon after the Wii U had launched, Nintendo announced a cross-over game between Intelligent Systems’ Fire Emblem franchise and that of Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei.  Today, video game enthusiasts worldwide are keeping their thumbs on the Nintendo pulse to see what fantastic new 3DS and Wii U projects come to light.  It’s looking like Atlus and Nintendo working together might be able to find a way to make high-quality RPGs popular and profitable worldwide once again.

If Atlus takes the place that Squaresoft once occupied, we could very well be entering a new gaming “Golden Era” with the Wii U and 3DS, where game quality rules, and with increased awareness (and the fact that the people who grew up with Nintendo hardware are all adults and thus have some more disposable income) that if it’ll promote better, richer experiences in video gaming, then it may be worth showing some monetary support to those now rare high-quality JRPGs that cross the pond.

Until next time, I give you this lovely pic of Nemissa from the upcoming Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers for 3DS.  Clicking on it will take you to the official site, where you can preorder it (There’s apparently a soundtrack included if you do)!

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Should we be moving away from the word, “Gamer”?

When you hear the word ‘gamer’, you think of someone in their mid-30s, attractive, has their life all worked out, maybe has a significant other or a spouse who is equally attractive and worked out lifewise.  They make 6 digits a year and live together in a clean, well-maintained living space that’s always ready for guests, and there’s an impressive collection of games in front of a luxurious TV, and the household spends the evenings engaged in some friendly online bouts of some award-winning title or other.

At least, that’s likely to be what you imagine if you use the word ‘gamer’ to describe yourself.  For 99% of the first world, “gamer” usually means someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time wrapped around a controller or keyboard, typically obese, possibly a type-2 diabetic, who is leeching off their parents and jobless, with no chance of attracting a mate.  As much as you’re loathe to believe it, Mr. or Ms. Self-Appointed Gamer, people say things like, “I had to dump my boyfriend because he was such a gamer,” “I can’t stand the gamer-stench when I walk past the electronics shop at the mall,” “I gotta hit the gym and get rid of this gamer-fat.”

Don't be a gamer.

Youtube’s Francis is a fictional character who illustrates the obesity, ignorance, and general rotten disposition of the kind of people most people refer to when they use the word “Gamer.”

Face it, game players, “gamer” is not a good word, and fighting to make it a good word is an uphill battle, if only for all the people that just don’t care that it means all those bad things, and those that just continue to validate the bad stereotype.

Nintendo has recently launched an ad campaign that’s being called the “I am not a gamer” campaign, and I believe that they are on the right track.  “Gamers” are not the majority of game players, and it’s high-time the rest of the video game industry realizes this.  If you exclude people who don’t call themselves “gamers”, then you will get your company to lose money quickly.  Gamers are a dying breed, and we shouldn’t be trying to save them.  We should be trying to hold on to the people who are interested in video games, but also have well-maintained lives of their own.  The people that allow the positive effects of video-games influence their lives and make them healthier, more productive, more successful, and more fulfilling in their lives and the lives of the people around them.  The people who would be described as the “gamers” of the first paragraph of this article.

I like to call them, “humans.”

My name is Guardian Hero, and I am not a gamer.  I am a protector of the realm, and if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to go out and do so in Code of Princess.

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