The State of the Blog: A Quick Retrospective (Unnecessary Ellipsis)…

Link is evolving!

Well, I think I really nailed it with the introduction. I talked about Nintendo stuff, Kingdom Hearts 3, and specifically what a mess the SNES Classic will be. I don’t know why I mentioned Half-Life 3. I failed to mention Square Enix or Final Fantasy games whatsoever.

Will the Super NES Classic be Super?
My thoughts on this haven’t changed. My anxiety about it has gone up significantly and my mind is more and more on playing Super Metroid again, even though I already own it. Twice. Someone at some point stole my copy on the SNES though, and I’m looking forward to being denied the chance to play it on the old style controllers. Thanks, Nintendo. /sarcasm

Now that the Final Fantasy XII HD Remaster is out…
I still haven’t played it. I’m not interested in spending $50 I don’t have, so I’m going to borrow it for a friend. If you’re interested in buying it for me, I’ll set up a Patreon for no reason.

New Worlds and Mechanics for Kingdom Hearts 3
I did a podcast with my friend about this, that’s how excited we are. It ended up being 26 minutes long and I’m heavily procrastinating on editing it down to less than a quarter of that time. Bleh. Anyway, no new information has come out about the game since I wrote it, so nothing to update.

Metroid Prime 4: I’d lost hope…
Okay, I just noticed I used ellipses twice in the titles of my posts. Whoops. I think this is my favorite out of the ones I’ve written so far because it shares a bit of my history with the game series. I’ve been so hyped about it I took the time to get my Metroid Prime Trilogy up and running on my Wii U. I did this instead of editing my podcast. I’m a terrible person.

Metroid: Samus Returns… but it took her a while.
Oh look! An ellipsis! I grossly overhyped myself on this game. It’s out next month! I didn’t talk about the supply issue with the special two-pack Amiibo figurines at all. It’s got Samus in a crouch position and a metroid breaking out of a capsule. Problem is, there’s actual game content (Fusion mode: super hard difficulty with a different suit for Samus) locked behind the purchase. And supply is a huge issue. This is really angering the Nintendo gaming community and it’s a fairly big controversy right now. It’s like DLC that you can’t even buy if you wanted to. I’m pissed about it too.

The Legend of Zelda Game I Never Bought
I would have used the word “only” in the title, but I didn’t buy several of the handheld games, so it felt disingenuous to include it. I complain a bit about Amiibos here. I’ll admit, I was partially whining about the Metroid Amiibos as well, but the argument fully applies to the Zelda amiibos as well. I’m sure I’ll break down and buy it. But if I can’t afford $50 for Final Fantasy XII, how am I going to afford $360+ for that on the Switch? I should get one of those “job” things I hear about from time to time.

So how have things changed? I don’t know, like, not at all? I pretty much just slap down my opinions about something I know some stuff about. I had a friend accidentally see my blog and he said, “Wow that looks really good!” Thanks, whatever platform this blog is on. It’s extremely easy to use. I’m actually really happy with the way this has turned out so far. So, thank you!

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The Legend of Zelda Game I Never Bought

It’s this one.

I suppose I should bring this up. I really don’t want to. It’s… sort of embarrassing.

I’ve purchased every single home console version of every entry in the Legend of Zelda series on day one. The original? Yep. It took a lot of yelling at my mom as a tiny kid. Zelda 2? Yep. More yelling, but it got the job done. Link to the Past? Sure did, I was happy about the return to the top-down view. Ocarina of Time? Yep, first outing in 3D and what a massive success! Majora’s Mask, definitely, even for how creepy it was. Wind Waker, of course, even though I was a little worried about cel shaded graphics. Twilight Princess? Absolutely, I still feel lucky I managed to grab that and a Wii on release day. And Skyward Sword? Oh yes, I wasn’t missing out on that gold Wiimote Plus.

So what’s missing from that list? The newest one, Breath of the Wild. Now, it’s not because I don’t have a console for it. I do, I have a Wii U. It’s not like I don’t want to play it. I very much do. I’ve heard it’s the best Zelda game ever. That’s saying something because Ocarina of Time is fairly consistently referred to as the best game of all time. (They’re wrong, it’s Super Metroid, but anyway.)

The reason I didn’t pick it up is super petty. I want to play it on the Switch console that came out this year. I won’t buy a Switch because Nintendo’s practices of restricting production to increase demand is frustrating to the consumer. I couldn’t get an NES Classic because of low production and scalpers. I have a hell of a time getting Amiibos (the collectible figurines that interact with some games to grant bonuses) because of inflated demand due to scarcity compounded with some store exclusives. Some Link Amiibos are now over $50 when the standard price was $13 or so. The Switch has had some similar problems. I’ve seen them in stores once or twice. I’ve just been burned too many times on wanting a Nintendo product so badly and then being let down that I couldn’t purchase it without getting gouged on eBay.

So the reason I didn’t buy the latest entry in my favorite game series of all time is because the game company that creates it isn’t making enough stuff for me to spend my money on. So I reasoned, why keep trying to throw my money at them if they won’t take it? It’s stupid and embarrassing, but it is what it is, I guess. I hope they figure it out. I sure would like to play Breath of the Wild someday, the trailers for it got me almost hyped enough to buy it anyway.

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Metroid: Samus Returns… but it took her a while.

It’s only been 26 years.

So last week, I wrote about Metroid Prime 4 and what a shock that was.

That wasn’t the only Metroid game previewed at E3. We had two previewed. Two. This, as you may know from math, is a much larger number than the zero we were accustomed to.

Metroid: Samus Returns is a complete remake of the original Metroid 2: Return of Samus GameBoy game. While Metroid 2 was good for its time it’s still a GameBoy game. So, it’s aged like someone drinking from the wrong grail in Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail… poorly.

This new version has modern 3DS graphics, sounds, new enemies, new mechanics… new everything. The story is mostly the same. Everything else is a massive and welcome upgrade to a game that was originally released in 1991. Think about that for a moment: we’re getting a remake to a game that’s 26 years old.

It’s quite a long time to wait for a game to come back around. But based on the trailer and gameplay videos of the game it’s going to be worth the wait.

Please buy this and Metroid 4 so we don’t have to wait decades again. These games are amazing for the gameplay, the visuals, the music, and especially the atmosphere. Nothing else in gaming is quite like them.

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Metroid Prime 4: I’d lost hope…

Trilogy? We’ll see about that.

I love the Metroid series games. The exploration aspect and the neat power-ups combined so well into using new powers to re-explore old areas to find even more powers… it was so satisfying. Metroid, Metroid 2: Return of Samus, Super Metroid, and Metroid: Fusion were all 2D side-scrolling games. The Prime series were first-person games. You were no longer merely controlling the main character, intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran… you were in control of her power armor AS her.

Metroid Prime released on the Nintendo GameCube on November 17, 2002. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes released on the GameCube November 15, 2004. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released on the Nintendo Wii on August 27, 2007. So it’s been 10 years since the last Metroid Prime game.

Sales for Prime 1 were great for the Metroid franchise at 2.78 million (12.78% attach rate [copies of games sold to number of consoles sold]). Unfortunately, sales for Echoes at 1.10M (5.06% attach rate) and Corruption at 1.41M (a mere 1.39% attach rate) were huge disappointments that seemed to be worse each time.

I thought the series was dead. Almost all of the fans did. We’d learned to appreciate what we had and reminisce about what could have been. We wanted another Metroid Prime game. We knew it wasn’t happening. It had been too long. Sales were just too poor. Nintendo released the Wii U console in 2012. No Metroid Prime games were made. Nintendo released their newest console, the Switch on March 3, 2017. Again, no mention of Metroid Prime at launch. We’d learned we were always going to get the same thing… nothing at all.

 

At E3 2017, to our wonderful shock and surprise…

we learned how amazing it can be to be so wrong.

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New Worlds and Mechanics for Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts Toy Story 3

Kingdom Hearts 3 includes the new world of Disney’s Toy Story.
Link to original image

Kingdom Hearts 3 by Square Enix has been a long, long time coming. The last original main series game, Kingdom Hearts 2, had a North American release date as a PlayStation 2 Exclusive on March 28, 2006. Kingdom Hearts in a simple description is a combined reality between Square Enix’s Final Fantasy characters, Disney’s characters and worlds, and a few new things specific to Kingdom Hearts (such as the main character Sora, and Keyblades — swords that looks like huge keys). It’s been a long time coming. Finally, we’re starting to see specifics of new mechanics and new Disney worlds.

A mechanic from the previous two installments would be swapping one out your two companions, Donald and Goofy, for the main character of whatever Disney world you were in at the time. For example, you could swap one of them out for Jack Skellington while in the Nightmare Before Christmas world. A big change is this mechanic is gone. Characters will join your party to fight alongside with you, Donald, and Goofy. This is due to the greatly increased power of the current generation of consoles over the original PS2 platform.

New worlds are going to be slowly introduced until the game releases. Some worlds announced so far are the return of the Coliseum from Hercules, the new world of Big Hero 6, and the surprise announcement of Toy Story. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do. Then again, I’ve been looking forward to it for more than a decade, so my expectations are impossibly high.

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Now that the Final Fantasy XII HD Remaster is out…

When I first played Final Fantasy XII (by Square Enix) on the PlayStation 2, I was impressed with how visually stunning the graphics were… for about five feet in front of my character. The draw distance was very low, making anything that wasn’t in the foreground blurry. It was like playing a game as a nearsighted person with no glasses. This was due to the hardware limitations of the PS2.

Sure, the game had other problems when it came out. Kotaku, a video game blog website, recently posted a review in which they discuss the merits of the new version as well as fixing some of those old flaws.

Now, the game has been updated to a High Definition version for the PlayStation 4, titled Final Fantasy XII: the Zodiac Age. This YouTube video compares the two versions and the difference is stunning. My single biggest complaint about the PS2 version was how difficult it was to see what was going on. It’s heartening to see they’ve cleaned it up so much and I’m looking forward to playing the new PS4 version for myself.

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