Among the trailers revealed during this morning’s Nintendo Direct was a new video and information about Bravely Default, the Square-Enix RPG that launches next February. More details after the break! Continue reading
Yesterday, Atlus released a playable demo of Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. The demo allows players to experience the first few stages of Etrian Odyssey Untold’s Story Mode, a feature new to the dungeon-crawling RPG series.
Rather than forcing players to create their own protagonists or recruit new ones throughout the game, The Millennium Girl’s Story Mode features a team of five characters with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, personalities, and skill sets. As a bonus for those who play the demo and go on to purchase the full game, all of your saved progress in the demo version can be transferred to your copy of Etrian Odyssey Untold once it launches on October 1.
After the break, you can find the official Atlus press release and more details about the latest 3DS installment of Etrian Odyssey - pre-order bonuses, Classic Mode, and more.
If you’re looking forward to Project X Zone, Monolith Soft’s strategy/RPG/fighting mash-up between Capcom, Sega, and Namco Bandai characters, you should hurry onto the Nintendo eShop, where you can find a downloadable demo version of the game – the first of two, in fact. More details and a trailer after the break! Continue reading
Another catch-up blurb; in case you were looking forward to the next demo on the eShop, it’s coming tomorrow – and it’s a good one.
You can play a trial version of Fire Emblem: Awakening, available for download on the Nintendo eShop, starting January 17. This is just a few weeks ahead of the game’s North American release (Feb. 5), so it should give us a chance to see if the first 3DS installment of the series is up to par.
Apparently the full download of the game will take up some ridiculous amount of SD card memory – more than 8,000 blocks – so I wouldn’t expect the demo to be a small download either. I guess I’ll be getting out the spare SD card for this one.
If you still haven’t downloaded and played Fractured Soul, the brutally-difficult dual-screen platformer (developed by Endgame Studios) that launched on the eShop a few months ago…well, to put it lightly, you’re missing out. Just take a look at my original review; I gave the game a final score of 9/10 because it “…[focused] on its most unique innovation (the dual-screen game design) and [excelled] with the brilliant execution of that idea.”
To be fair, the game was pricey when it came out, and still remains one of the most expensive digital downloads (not including digital versions of retail games) on the eShop. It also required a massive chunk of space on your SD card.
If these issues prevented you from playing the game, I’ve got some good news – Endgame Studios is putting a playable demo on the Nintendo eShop on December 6. The demo version will include the first four stages of the game, and should give you enough time to fall in love with it (or become very irritated with its punishing difficulty level).
Some additional news related to Fractured Soul; Endgame Studios is planning an update for the game, fixing an issue that many players had with one of its stages (level 8) by adding some checkpoints.
Here is the direct quote about the update from Grant Davies, Endgame Studios’ managing director:
“We’re also working on submitting an update for the game to make the infamous level 8 a little easier – by adding checkpoints. It’s no secret that Fractured Soul is a damn hard platformer … probably a little too hard. Hopefully this will smooth out the difficulty curve somewhat.”
Make sure you check out the demo version of Fractured Soul when it comes out next week!
As promised earlier this fall, the playable demo for Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion was recently added to the Nintendo eShop.
I’ve been looking forward to this one from the moment I saw it during Nintendo’s 3DS presser at E3, and fully expect it to be one of November’s best 3DS releases. I wasted little time in downloading the trial version of Warren Spector’s 3DS platformer, and came away from my experience very impressed.
I’ve gone through the demo a few times now, and have gone from ‘intrigued’ to ‘sold’ – Power of Illusion really shows a lot of potential. Here are some points that I really enjoyed in the demo version:
1. The art style/graphics.
Power of Illusion is clearly a throwback to the visual style seen in the Sega Genesis era, as you can see from the screenshots on this page. The images and videos of Epic Mickey show how much detail has been put into the 2D sprites and the environments, but seeing it in action – and with the 3D effect turned on – really brings out the gorgeous backgrounds. To say that this is one of the finest-looking 2D games on the 3DS would be an understatement.
2. The old-school platforming.
Again, the gameplay in Power of Illusion is reminiscent of the 16-bit generation, where side-scrollers and 2D platformers dominated the market. One such game was Castle of Illusion, which the 3DS Epic Mickey is based on. With this in mind, the game is very successful at pulling off the feeling of classic side-scrolling games, complete with hop ‘n bop attacks to the heads of certain foes. Others require Mickey’s trusty spin attack. There are collectibles to find all over the place, and exploring every nook and cranny of the stage is fun, thanks to the tried-and-true design. Still, what sets the game apart from other platformers is…
3. The magic brush.
In addition to firing blasts of paint at his foes, Mickey can use a special, magical paintbrush to interact with the environment. This was one of the primary gimmicks in the original Epic Mickey; I never got a chance to play it for myself, but the idea works very well in Power of Illusion. Not only does it set the platforming apart from other games, it adds a level of interactivity with the stages that is pretty nifty. Certain puzzles can only be solved by clicking shaded areas on the bottom screen; using the stylus (or your thumb), you can paint objects into the stage that can cover gaps, spike pits, or other hazards. In addition, you can insert things such as falling blocks that crush your enemies – definitely pretty cool.
I really enjoyed playing the demo version of Power of Illusion; I was already planning on purchasing the game later this month, but now I am fully convinced that the experience will be worthwhile. I won’t spoil everything, but just based on the brief trial, there is quite a large cast of classic Disney characters and locales to see in this game…and that sounds absolutely great to me.
You can check out the demo for yourself by downloading it on the eShop – the file is rougly 800-900 blocks, so be sure your SD card is prepared for it. Stay tuned for a full review of the game on 3DStination.com after it launches near the end of November!
Just a quick blurb; it was confirmed today that the demo version of Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage? will be available on the Nintendo eShop very soon.
In fact, the day is set for November 15 – just over two weeks from now. The full game launches on November 20, so stay tuned to see if WayForward’s Zelda II-inspired take on the popular TV show is worth all the fuss.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by this one, even if I’ve never really watched the show. I never even liked Zelda II, to be honest – maybe it’s the visual style, maybe it’s because I’m bored.
I haven’t been checking the Nintendo eShop as regularly as usual for new demos, which is precisely why I overlooked the launch of one of the latest playable trials - LEGO Lord of the Rings. Granted, I haven’t been looking forward to the latest LEGO mash-up quite as much as a few of the other games with upcoming eShop demos - Sonic & All-Stars Racing and Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion are what I really want.
Regardless, I was pretty excited to see LEGO LOTR sitting there in the “new demos” page of the eShop, and wasted no time downloading the trial to give it a shot myself. Actually, I’ve never even been the biggest fan of the films, and have never read the books…yeah yeah, take away my Nerd Card, if you must.
Anyway, the beginning of the LEGO LOTR demo puts you in the furry feet of three Hobbit friends – Sam, Merry & Pippin – and leaves you to your wits in a small forest clearing. I quickly noticed one of the very generous new parts of the LEGO gameplay - LEGO LOTR actually points out the direction you need to go whenever you’re holding an item, negating any confusion whatsoever about “what to do”, in case you ever ran into those issues before. In addition, the special “skills” of your various characters help you to solve the simple puzzles, and LEGO LOTR assists you by flashing the icon of the character on the bottom screen with the skill you need at any particular point.
Beyond these little changes, the gameplay seems largely the same, obviously this time being focused on Lord of the Rings characters instead of Star Wars, Batman or Harry Potter. The “skills” and LEGO-building mechanics work largely the same, only this time they are pretty off-the-wall…for example, Sam can start fires with his flint; Merry can fish for…well, fish, and Pippin can somehow discover hidden items using a special pouch.
Finally, the game looks utterly incredible – again, I’m not much of a LEGO video game fan, but I’ve always enjoyed the style and the humor associated with the characters and the cut-scenes. Unfortunately, LEGO LOTR features voice acting – much like LEGO Batman 2 - so part of the silent humor that was enjoyed in the early LEGO Star Wars games is now voiced-over. Of course, the familiar LOTR music absolutely rocks.
Nintendo revealed a lot of juicy 3DS news this week with its latest “Nintendo Direct” video; one of the hottest bits of news relates to the new game demos that will be available on the Nintendo eShop before the end of 2012.
Although specific dates and details were left out, you can count on “trial versions” of the following titles sometime in the next two months:
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?
- Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
- LEGO Lord of the Rings
- Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Finally, there will be two different demos for something called “Style Savvy: Trendsetters“. Hrm…probably not my cup o’ tea, but there’s no harm in putting something out there for the ladies.
Note that these are all third-party games; perhaps Nintendo will also release demos for games such as Paper Mario: Sticker Star or Professor Layton & The Miracle Mask?
Again, no specific dates for the demos, but I would guess that they will appear in some sort of organized way…perhaps by the release of the full version? That would mean we should see Adventure Time first, then LEGO LOTR…perhaps the latter two (Epic Mickey & Sonic All-Stars Racing) will arrive sometime closer to November.
I have been away for quite some time, as you can see from the feed on the front page.
Unfortunately, moving into a new apartment and trying to set up the Internet during move-in week in a major college town never leads to good results. Alas, excuses are excuses – and I would like to jump right back into the swing of getting headlines posted and putting up some new reviews.
First things first, here are a few assorted headlines from the past few days – old news to some, but still worth knowing about:
Animal Crossing Jumps Out During First Half of 2013
…and that’s all for now. Nintendo recently Tweeted the slightly-vague “launch window” for the 3DS installment of Animal Crossing, subtitled “Jump Out”. Unfortunately, that “window” spans the entire first half of next year. Japan, on the other hand, gets to check out the latest hoarding/OCD simulator this November.
Latest Brain Age Teasing American Brains in December
It was only a matter of time before the latest Brain Age game was localized for North America, and the confirmation finally came last week. Set for launch on December 3, Dr. Kawashima is back to test the sharpness of the brains of America’s finest with Brain Age: Concentration Training. Once again, the goal is to tone your “working memory” by performing a daily routine of basic brain “exercises”. Hopefully the latest Brain Age will launch at the same budget price point as its DS predecessors.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 Sells a Million in Japan
No surprises here; the latest Mario title recently broke the million mark in Japan. Meanwhile, the worldwide Coin Rush total has already exceeded 50 billion coins, and the 3DS remains the highest-selling console in Japan by more than 50,000 units.
New eShop Downloads – SpeedX 3D, Theatrhythm Demo & More
The latest eShop update brings a few notable downloads; for those of you who haven’t gotten around to playing Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, there is finally a demo version available on the service. Moving on, the latest 3D game is SpeedX 3D, which looks like it should come bundled with a script for amphetamines.
There’s another 3D game, titled, Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D…if you’re into a safari/hunting simulator set in Africa. Finally, the Game Boy Color game Toki Tori was released on the Virtual Console.
Fractured Soul Confirmed for Sept. 13 Launch via eShop
I previously heard about Fractured Soul through various headlines that were based on its developer (Endgame Studios) struggling to decide on the method of release and price point for its side-scrolling 3DS game. The studio was previously considering a two-part release of the dimension-shifting game, but has since decided on a single download, set for launch on September 13. The price has also been set at $11.99, which Endgame admits is half the price it had originally planned.
I do not know a lot about this game, but after watching some footage of Fractured Soul, I think it looks incredible – and the September 13 launch date couldn’t come sooner. Even if it’s one of the most expensive eShop downloads to date, I fully plan on burning the $12 and hoping for the best. Expect a full review in the coming weeks.
Quick post; Sega’s Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure finally got its promised demo version on the Nintendo eShop last week. Check out the downloadable trial if you’re interested in the quirky rhythm-based game, which has apparently been available in other regions for quite a while. I checked out the demo and will have a full “demo impressions” article posted soon.
In other news, the last 3DS demo promised at this year’s E3 showcase – Heroes of Ruin – has been confirmed to appear on the eShop this Thursday, July 5. It’s the second Square-Enix game coming out this July, and the demo will give you a chance to check it out before it finally comes out on July 17. If you’re looking forward to the multiplayer-based hack-and-slash RPG as much as I am, stay tuned for that demo when it drops later this week – and check back for another “impressions” article once I get some hands-on time.
Over the weekend, another demo version appeared on the Nintendo eShop – Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Seeing this one on the eShop at 3AM on Saturday caused me to become admittedly the most excited about a playable demo since the Resident Evil: Revelations trial went online earlier this year.
I’ve been absolutely thrilled about the upcoming action/RPG for a very long time, and it is easily one of my most-anticipated titles of 2012. I’ve even got the fancy $55 collector’s edition pre-ordered at GameStop – going against my usually-strict “no Collector’s Edition” policy.
[Side-rant; I really wasn't thrilled about being forced to throw down $25 rather than the usual five bucks just to reserve a copy - some new GameStop policy for all special edition pre-orders, total shenanigans if you ask me...]
Nonetheless, my worries were completely wiped away after I ran through this new demo almost half a dozen times. Over the last few days, I’ve gotten comfortable with the new mechanics, explored every inch of the demo, and come to this conclusion: KH3D is definitely the game that fans have been waiting for.
What I liked:
In general, I don’t want to ruin too much about the demo for any of the hardcore fans out there, but I will say this – Dream Drop Distance feels like Kingdom Hearts, and it looks better than the series has ever looked before. Most screenshots and YouTube trailers really don’t do the game any justice; you simply have to play it yourself to see just how well-animated and colorful the visuals really look. The 3D effect is used very well, particularly in the CG cut-scenes…but those really aren’t in the demo as much, just the E3 trailer on the eShop. Anyway, I loved seeing the protagonist from The World Ends With You in the demo – he’s the guy seen with Sora in the image below – and I hope to see more from the cast of that cult classic from the original DS.
The gameplay was incredibly smooth, from what I played in the demo – though I definitely felt a lot more comfortable with the game and the controls after playing the quick tutorial, which explained the basic mechanics as well as the newer ones. For example, Sora’s basic combat strikes and special abilities work the same as usual, but with the added benefit of the slick “FlowMotion” mechanics and the nifty “Reality Shift” attacks he’s able to pull off under certain conditions. Ultimately this is a Kingdom Hearts game that feels faster, smoother and looks far more flashy than anything else in the franchise. This is saying a lot, considering I have the highest level of respect for the original games on the PlayStation 2.
Check out the trailer below for some footage of the “FlowMotion” concept in action:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfiAkGqpG3Q&w=465&h=262]What I didn’t like:
There wasn’t anything in the demo that I particularly disliked, but I was actually surprised that the trial version didn’t support the use of the Circle Pad Pro. Though I actually don’t own one of them myself, I was visiting a friend who did have the “CPP” after playing the demo, and realized that I couldn’t even use the add-on to enjoy two circle pads and easier camera control. This might be the only small issue I had with my experience; the camera isn’t really hard to control by any means, but you definitely need to get used to using the trigger buttons to turn left and right, in addition to holding them both whenever you want to “lock-on” to your enemies. Some of this hassle could have been avoided if the Circle Pad Pro was supported; I am really hoping that you can use it in the final version.
All of that being said, I really don’t want to spoil too much about the demo, but it also isn’t very long by any means. I enjoyed my quick look at the new FlowMotion concept, as well as the 3D effect and visuals from Dream Drop Distance – but I was mostly glad that the game felt and looked so much like the Kingdom Hearts that I’ve loved since the original (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year) came out on the PS2. As I said before, I’ve got the game pre-ordered at the local GameStop – so in just over a month, I’ll be picking up and playing the full version of Kingdom Hearts 3D, and more than likely I’ll be loving every second of it.
What do you think? Have you gotten a chance to play the demo yourself? What do you think about the controls, the combat system, the 3D effects, the graphics, the FlowMotion and Reality Shift mechanics? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
If you haven’t already spotted the news or checked out the eShop this afternoon, the demo version of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is now available on the Nintendo eShop.
I have actually been routinely checking the eShop for the last few weeks, waiting for the KH3D demo to appear on the eShop…and last night, around 3am, it finally happened. I haven’t actually played the demo yet myself, but you can expect a full “demo impressions” article on the site once I get a chance to check it out.
This week, another demo was added to the Nintendo eShop – this time, gamers could get their hands on a trial version of The Amazing Spider-Man, Activision’s upcoming action game starring everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero.
Before downloading the demo, I hadn’t given much thought to The Amazing Spider-Man – I think the upcoming film looks interesting, but I didn’t expect much from the video game tie-in. The last Spider-Man game I played was the Nintendo DS version of Shattered Dimensions, and though I found the “Metroidvania” gameplay to be very interesting, I was disappointed to hear that the latest installment returned to the open-world style of Spider-Man 2. Though Spider-Man 2 was a popular choice for “best Spider-Man game”, I typically don’t care for the open-ended style of play, and perhaps that is why I found myself so surprisingly satisfied by developer Beenox’s latest effort.
What I liked: The 3DS version of The Amazing Spider-Man might be disappointing to those looking for the sandbox gameplay featured in the console versions, but this allowed me to focus on the combat in the demo version. It felt a lot like the system used in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arhkam City; Spider-Man can move around with a lot of fluidity, chaining together combo attacks and avoiding enemy strikes in order to pull off counter moves. Attacks can be chained to form combos, which increases your multiplyer, and ultimately rewards you with experience points that can be used to unlock more special abilities.
To be honest, most of the game feels almost identical to the aforementioned Batman titles, only with a Spider-Man twist. This isn’t even remotely a bad thing; I was actually pretty impressed by how well it all works in the 3DS version. I really liked the new “Web Rush” move, which slowed down time and let me zip around each room, dropping down on my enemies or stunning them with web shots before pummeling them with melee strikes. All of this fast-paced action handles pretty well for the handheld platform; even the camera controls seem to work well on the trigger buttons – I had no trouble keeping the camera under control, even when surrounded by a large group of opponents.
There were occasionally some dips in the frame rate when I played in 3D, but the depth effects were actually done pretty well here – so keeping the slider turned on really let me enjoy the primary function of the 3DS. With the stereoscopic effects, the cut-scenes are made even nicer, but it really helps that they all feature fully-voiced dialogue as well.
What I didn’t like: I really liked the character model for Spider-Man, and the combat animations were very smooth, but everything else about the graphics seemed…well, just a little too much like what you’d expect a sloppy handheld port of a visually-superior console game to look like. The textures were bland, the environments were repetitive, and the enemy models were nowhere near as well-designed as Spider-Man’s. Though I don’t hold most licensed titles to the same standards as most other games – especially their handheld ports – I was really disappointed to see the blatant gap in visual quality between Spider-Man and the rest of the game.
Though I’m fine with the idea of the sandbox gameplay being taken out of the 3DS version, it makes me wonder how much more linear and limited the handheld port will ultimately be: how will Beenox replace the open-ended exploration, the random side-quests, and the extensive amount of content?
Finally, two more small complaints. I did like the idea of using the gyroscope to control Spider-Man’s new Web Rush mechanic, but the implementation is wonky in the demo – and using the feature with 3D turned on results in a lot of eye strain that could have been avoided if the stereoscopic effects automatically deactivated, such as in Mario Tennis Open. Last of all, this demo can only be played 10 times, where past 3DS demos have offered 30 attempts to play them. Even worse, you can’t just finish the trial version and re-start before going back to the Home Menu; the game makes you completely back out and re-start in order to play again. This means you really only do get to play through the trial version a limited number of times – though 10 is still plenty, I scoffed at the reduction nonetheless. Why should players who want to try new games be limited in their means of doing so?
What do you think? Are you interested in picking up The Amazing Spider-Man? Have you played the demo on the eShop? Leave some feedback below!