The new Pokémon games were giving a little mini Direct video announcement today. Check it out.
A couple of highlights today:
If you don't know what that is, it's an app that's available on the Japanese 3DS (aka Collectible Badge Center), where you can play with virtual claw machines to try to win prizes, namely, little badges that you can put on your 3DS home screen. You use real money to buy turns to play the virtual arcade machines. The news that this is coming to the West is long overdue. I expect that it will come to NA as well, and be one of the announcements in the Nintendo Direct.
Capcom announced today that Japan will be getting a special edition New 3DS XL accompanying the release of Monster Hunter X. It will release in a "Special Pack" priced at 26,000 yen. There will also be two special 3DS themes to go with Monster Hunter X. Both the game and the special 3DS XL will release in Japan on November 28, 2015.
I'm probably reading too much into it, but the announcement of a special edition New 3DS XL gets me thinking that perhaps there will be a western release announcement soon? Since North America only has the XL, maybe this means something?
The next FE game Fire Emblem: If is scheduled for a Japanese release date of June 25th, and a Western release window of 2016.
The recently announced Western localization of the Attack on Titan 3DS game from Atlus now has a release date! Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released on the eShop on May 12th in North America.
Attack on Titan is a popular Japanese anime and manga featuring an elite force of soldiers tasked with defending humanity's last fortified city against the large lumbering human-eating Titans who live outside the walls.
Included in this month's DLC:
- Metroid's Varia Suit
- Metroid's Zero Suit
- Metroid's Arm Cannon
- Taiko Drum Master Hunting Horn
- USJ's Star Rook armor
- USJ's Starlight Axe Charge Blade
- Mega Man
- USJ's F Star
Make sure you head over to the DLC tab and download those extra quests! Me, I'm still working to get to G-Rank, but some of these quests have been pretty fun diversions. And definitely something to do if you've somehow run out of things to do in this massive game!
Nintendo Download highlights for the week - amiibo tap, Paper Mario VC, and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Ed. Demo
Featured in the Nintendo eShop this week:
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- amiibo tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits – Discover definitive moments from classic Nintendo games. Download the free amiibo tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits application in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and tap any amiibo figure to the Wii U GamePad controller to unlock scenes from select NES and Super NES Wii U Virtual Console games. At least one amiibo figure (sold separately) is required to use this software.
- Virtual Console on Wii U
- Paper Mario – After Bowser steals the Star Rod and kidnaps Princess Peach, Mario plots to rescue the seven Star Spirits and free the Mushroom Kingdom from the Koopa’s rule. The turn-based battle system of this classic Nintendo 64 RPG will make fighting Bowser’s baddies equal parts strategy and timing.
- Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition Demo – Download the free demo version of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Editionbefore the full game launches in stores and in the Nintendo eShop. Intuitive drag-and-match puzzle game play and classic Mushroom Kingdom characters combine to create one of the most unique puzzle/RPG games ever. The full version of the Puzzle & Dragons Z +Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition game, which gives you two complete games in one package, launches May 22.
Nintendo eShop Sales:
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
- Shin’en Spring Sale – Big savings on select games from Shin’en for spring! Check out these great deals in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U beginning at 9 a.m. PT on April 30 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 21. Visit http://www.nintendo.com/eshop/offers for more details.
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Monster High: 13 Wishes on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Young Justice: Legacyand more titles from Little Orbit are on sale beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 1 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 31.
- Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS is 70 percent off (reduced from $4.99 to $1.49 each) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 7.
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- Pentapuzzle, Toss N Go and other titles from RCMADIAX are up to 50 percent off until 8:59 a.m. PT on June 24.
- Zacisa’s Last Stand is 65 percent off (reduced from $1.99 to $0.69) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- TNT Racers – Nitro Machines Edition is 37 percent off (reduced from $7.99 to $4.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- Castle Conqueror Defender, Demon King Box and Quell Mementofrom Circle Entertainment are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 21.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV is 50 percent off (reduced from $29.99 to $14.99) beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 4 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 11.
- 3D Game Collection, FunFair Party Games and Murder on the Titanicfrom Joindots are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- Tiny Games – Knights & Dragons is 50 percent off (reduced from $2.99 to $1.49) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- AeternoBlade is 46 percent off (reduced from $14.99 to $7.99) beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 1 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 17.
- Winter Sports: Feel the Spirit is 40 percent off (reduced from $9.99 to $5.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on Oct. 1.
Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS:
- New themes this week include:
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Hunter's Weapon Gallery (Available May 1-July 1)
Also new this week:
Capcom released the first of many free DLC packs for Monster Hunter 4U today, and this one's a doozy. Featuring Link armour and two weapons, the bow and the sword and shield, this Free DLC includes:
14 new quests;
11 new weapons;
4 complete armor sets (8 if you count Blademaster AND Gunner) plus the 3 Fan Club pieces;
2 Palico armor sets;
1 Palico weapon;
1 Bonus Palico: Calico Red;
2 Guild Card backgrounds;
1 Guild Card pose;
9 Guild Card titles;
1000 Caravan Points
Pretty sweet for a free pack. Capcom has committed to continued free DLC packs releasing on the first Friday of each month.
I just finished my play through of "The Legend of Zelda" on the 3DS Virtual Console this month. Before I get to that however, I want to talk about 1987.
I was 14, and going into Grade 11. Yeah, I skipped a couple grades. But keep in mind that back then we had Grade 13 in Ontario, so it's not as braniac as it seems. When The Legend of Zelda released for the NES in August of 1987, I'm not sure I noticed. I was probably too busy in the arcade playing Double Dragon, or listening to U2's Joshua Tree. You might have found me pulling an all-nighter at a friend's house playing Arkanoid on his 386* with an actual paddle controller. Playing D&D, or attempting to learn how to play Squad Leader. To put it bluntly, I was too cool for a Nintendo.
I'll never know how my life would have been changed had I played The Legend of Zelda back then. But I missed it, and ever since, Zelda has been one of those gaming touchstones that I never got around to playing.
When we got our Wii and Skyward Sword came out, I dutifully purchased and played through about a third of it. Anxious to see what all the fuss was about. It was fun, sure, and as engaging in its puzzling as it was frustrating in its motion controlled combat.
But a part of me didn't really 'get' Zelda. What is it about this story that is so compelling to so many people?
I am unable to project my 14 year old self into my current psyche. I can't do it. I had to look up what major world events happened in 1987. I remember isolated slices of experience, a life lived with my friends, my group of music/video game/D&D geeks.
So when I finally played The Legend of Zelda on my 3DS this past week, it was experienced through the eyes of a 41 year old husband and father of two. Here are my thoughts.
First, without any sort of guide or map, the game is seemingly aimless. Screen after screen of woods, beaches, rocky deserts. Creatures that come at you, and attack you. Oh, you can throw your sword at them, that's cool, until you can't. What? How come I can't throw my sword any more? Oh look, a heart! Hey, I can throw my sword again!
I became quickly frustrated. Not knowing where to go, or what to do. "Come on now, you played Dark Souls, you liked it, you should be able to figure this out," I said to myself. So I set about the task of playing through the entirety of the game.
Right off the bat I want to say that I consulted a walkthrough. Having heard that there are many hidden rooms and areas in the game, I didn't feel like walking around randomly bombing every section of wall or setting fire to every bush. So I used a guide.
I progressed through the game, learning that my health, my weapons, and my defences could be upgraded by acquiring new items. Using a guide really helped me go through the game in a logical manner, taking away what some might say is the game's unique open world design. Rather than stumbling across a dungeon that's much too hard and getting my ass kicked, I took the dungeons in a progressive order, starting with the easiest.
Second, the game reminded me of Dark Souls. When you die, you start back at the starting screen, with your items intact but your health reduced. I got so used to running through certain areas that I knew how the enemies were going to come at me before I got there. When I cleared an area of enemies, running back through them again was like running through an empty Undead Burg.
Also, when you die (which I did, quite often, at the beginning before getting more hearts) you start back at the first area again, but with reduced health. I was glad to find out that I didn't lose any of my weapons or equipment that I'd picked up along the way. And I did die, often as not because I was facing the wrong way when trying to attack, or because I'd been surrounded by a room full of enemies.
One interesting mechanic is that if you are at full health, you can throw your sword as a projectile, but if you take any damage at all, you lose that ability and the sword can only stab adjacent spots. Also interesting is that each arrow fired costs one rupee. I didn't realize this until suddenly I couldn't fire my arrows anymore, and I discovered that all my money had disappeared somehow. So I learned to conserve arrows, and I tried my best not to get hit, and stay at full health.
Third, this map is freaking huge. In my play through, which took under 7 hours, I'm not sure that I actually went to every area in the map. The graphics do a reasonable job of depicting different areas, with clever use of colour and patterns. I was genuinely shocked when I saw boulders crashing down from the mountainside. Dungeons had rooms that were pitch black, requiring you to light them up with your candle.
Secret areas abound, and without my walkthrough, or unlimited patience, I would never have found them all. Most are simply found through trial and error, but there are a few secrets which could be deduced by looking at the level design for things that just seemed subtly out of place. A bush that is on its own, or a pool of water that's not like the others. I felt that those were cleverly done, but the random caves in walls? Hard to find unless you know where to look.
Finally, playing the game on 3DS Virtual Console meant that I had the ability to save anywhere, which really helped against the tougher boss battles. Virtual Console only allows one save, but one is better than none. I got into the RPG habit of saving before going through the next door, or into the next dungeon, or after a particularly difficult room. Without that I think the game would have been much more frustrating for me. Definitely a plus to play it with save states.
I admit that my way of playing through the game is kind of cheat-y, and maybe ruins some of the wonder of exploring and solving a game like Zelda on your own. But I knew that if I didn't finish it before Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate came I wouldn't get back to it for a long time. So I hurried things up a little, with a little assistance.
It's certainly not my proudest gaming achievement, but at least now I can say the following things, and they will be true: I played the first Zelda game, and I finished a Zelda game.
*A 386 refers to the Intel 80386 CPU used in PC's of the time.
For more interesting Zelda analysis, here is a fascinating look at the translation and localization of the Legend of Zelda Manuals.
OK, so it's not actually a holiday, but a hunter can dream, can't he?
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS) releases today for North America and Europe, and tomorrow for Australia.
Nintendo released their financial summary for the period from April 1 2014 to December 31 2014., as well as comparisons to the same period in 2013.
Some of the major points:
- Net sales are down by 11.3% compared to the previous year, but overall income is up significantly
- since making their sales forecast in May 2014, they have now adjusted their net sales expectation down 3.8% to 550 billion yen
- sales of 3DS family in Japan continued to sell well with the introduction of the NEW 3DS
- in territories where the New 3DS has not launched, 3DS sales "did not grow sufficiently"
- global sales of 3DS family hardware was 7.08 million units Pokémon Omega Ruby/Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS did very well with 9.35 million units and 6.19 million units sold respectively
- 47% of 3DS sales were of the 3DS XL model, 21% of the 2DS, 8.2% of the New 3DS, and 17.8% of the New 3DS XL
- global sales of Wii U hardware reached 3.03 million units over 3 quarters
- Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold 4.77 million units and 3.39 million units globally
- the Wii U has sold 9.2 million units to date, with Nintendo projecting sales of 3.6 million units for this fiscal year ending March 2015
- Nintendo showed a gross profit of 172,944 million yen, and an operating income of 31,604 million yen, up from previous year's negative operating income of 1,578 million yen
- sales distribution across territories were as follows: Japan (27%), The Americas (41.4%), Europe (28.2%), Other (3.4%)
UPDATE: Wii U sales projection corrected to include the whole year, instead of the remaining quarter
Something new that you'll notice in going from Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate to 4 Ultimate is that your companions, Cha-Cha and Kayamba are not around. Instead you will be accompanied by creatures that you will recognize as Felynes. For Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, they are renamed as "Palicoes", and executive producer Ryozo Tsujimoto explains why:
The support Felynes are being rebranded as 'Palicoes' this time around and they don't have such a central story aspect, they'll be involved a little bit but not as much as Cha-Cha and Kayamba were. They're part of a system where you can bring these support characters with you out on quests; you can bring two of them with you with one being yours that you can customise, and the other one can be a different one, perhaps one you met on StreetPass from another player and you can even collect them. They're very much involved in the gameplay but not so much a story element this time. The differences, if you like, were that Cha-Cha and Kayamba were unique characters, and the Palicoes are kind of in a category of their own rather than being a character. You can enjoy collecting them, customising them and you can even rename them, for example my main support character is called Fujioka (MH4U creative director), and he gets to help me out on quests just like at work.
You can read the entire interview here on NintendoLife.
This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- 3D After Burner II – 3D After Burner II is a remastered version of the arcade classic. Pilot your F-14D fighter through enemy territory while blasting away squadrons of enemy fighters. Click here to watch a trailer for the game.
Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS
- Lufia: The Legend Returns – Join a cast of 12 playable characters in this classic Game Boy Color turn-based adventure filled with love, hope, terror and revenge. Complete quests to open up new paths, level up by battling monstrous enemies and gain new abilities by finding Ancient Texts hidden within dungeons and caves.
Virtual Console on Wii U
- Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight – In this NES classic, Ken has retired from his glory days in the Street Fighter world, but he must return to his roots when he finds his friend missing. Jump, climb and fight past monstrous enemies as Ken teleports across the galaxy to set things right.
Nintendo eShop Sales
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
- The Throwback Sale is on! Generations of fun come together as we pair classic games from past Nintendo systems with their newer siblings on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Going on now until Feb. 5 at 8:59 a.m. PT, we’ll offer weekly discounts on select game pairings like Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D World. Buy one or buy both games in each pairing – either way, you’ll get great savings during the sale. Check out www.nintendo.com/eshop/offers#throwback-sale for more details.
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- Loads of indie hits are now on sale during the Super Indie Connection Sale #2. Now through 8:59 a.m. PT on Jan. 29, fans who own any of the participating games already – or purchase one at full price during the promotion – qualify to receive 60 percent off any of the other participating games. Check out http://www.nintendo.com/eshop/offersfor more details.
- LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham for Wii U has been reduced to $39.99 (from $49.99).
- The LEGO Movie Videogame for Wii U has been reduced to $19.99 (from $29.99).
- LEGO The Hobbit for Wii U has been reduced to $19.99 (from $29.99).
- LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham for Nintendo 3DS has been reduced to $19.99 (from $29.99).
- Soccer Up 3D for Nintendo 3DS has been reduced to $2.99 (from $6.99).
Also New this Week
- Electronic Super Joy: Groove City (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
- Family Tennis SP (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
- uWordsmith (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
- Asterix The Mansions of the Gods – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
- Best of Mahjong (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
- Soccer Up Online (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
- Space Lift Danger Panic! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
- Quell Memento (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) – Available Jan. 16
- WRC Official Game of the FIA World Rally Championship – Full and Demo Versions (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
This video was not part of the Nintendo Direct yesterday, so in case you missed it:
Nintendo sent out a special email to select customers today with 4 download codes for the new demo of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. The criteria for receiving such an email is not clear, but if you purchased and registered the previous Monster Hunter on Club Nintendo, you're likely to have received your codes today.
The demo features a Beginner mode for those new to the series, and an Experienced mode for those who have played a previous Monster Hunter. The Beginner mode includes helpful hints during gameplay, and serves as an extended tutorial to the game's complexities. Monsters are also easier to defeat, as your hunter is stronger. This directly addresses one of the greatest weaknesses of previous demos, which would simply plop the player directly into a quest, with no explanations of any kind, making it a difficult introduction to the game.
The demo also features Local and Online multiplayer, and unlike the Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate demo, has no play count restrictions.
I had a chance to go through the demo quickly, and a few things stood out to me:
- the text, although small, is much more readable as compared with MH3U
- Circle Pad Pro is supported and works well
- gameplay seemed silky smooth on my original 3DS hardware, at least in solo mode
I encourage you to check it out for yourself, if you can snag a code from someone. All mine are accounted for already, but they're floating around. Just ask your Monster Hunter obsessed friends for one, I'm sure they'd be happy to share!
Nintendo reported today that Wii U sales were up 29 percent compared to 2013, and software increased 75 percent year-over-year. Sales in the US for Mario Kart 8 rang in at 1.7 million and Super Smash Bros sold 1.3 million copies. Nintendo's numbers include both physical and digital versions of the game.
Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America executive VP of Sales & Marketing, proclaimed 2014 as "Wii U's strongest year yet." It's a positive sign for a console that has had difficulty finding its footing amidst slow initial sales, and the superior processing power of Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, despite a near one year lead.
Nintendo also revealed that over 16 3DS releases have passed the 250,000 sales mark, and that three of those exceeded 1 million copies.
Amiibo sales were touted as "nearly twice the sales of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U", which would put it at roughly 2.5 million amiibo sold.
After Monster Hunter getting a release date, this was probably the next most awesome thing from today's Nintendo Direct.