A Shiny New 3DS and Animal Crossing New Leaf

I’ve only just recovered from E3 in terms of tiredness. I hope you all enjoyed my coverage. One day, I hope to be able to bring you all the latest news directly from the show itself. It’s a personal goal of mine, and I really hope I can reach it soon.

Onto the subject of this blog post though. After reading the reviews of Animal Crossing New Leaf, my indecision about whether or not to get a 3DS really peaked. If there’s something I can’t resist, it’s something cute that involves finding things, building things, and generally playing God. The first Animal Crossing was a true addiction when I got it, and this would no doubt be the same.

So after researching a bit online, I bundled myself onto a train to Manchester (any excuse), and went on a bargain hunting trip. I can’t use the 3D on the 3DS because it makes me feel sick, so I didn’t want to pay full price for that very reason. I could have got a brand new 3DS online for £133, but I wanted one for less than £100. I was hoping that after the Nintendo Direct there would be some sort of price decrease. Maybe I was hoping a little bit too much. Anyway, I ventured into GAME and CEX in search of a second-hand 3DS for under £100. First of all, GAME wanted to charge me £110 for a used console with  few scratches on it, no box, and a third-party charger. No way that was going to happen, so off I went to CEX. I could either pay £110 for a used 3DS with no scratches on, or £90 for a used 3DS with one or two scratches on. It was a no brainer, and the scratch is barely noticeable, and it’s on the back.

2013-06-17 17.12.43

£90 later and I’m the proud owner of a cosmos black 3DS, and £34.99 later also the proud owner of Animal Crossing New Leaf. Words do not describe the torture of the train journey home, as I sat with a 3DS that had no charge in it, and a new game. I was actually tempted to ask the staff in Yo! Sushi if I could charge it while I ate my burger, but I thought that would have been a little bit cheeky.

So I got home, plugged it in, and away I went. I’m already in love with it, and it brought back memories of my time with the original DS Animal Crossing, and all the animals that I came to love and look forward to meeting. I love the new twists in it and the new processes. I love the fact that I get to play Mayor, and it’s a fantastic idea that you can change when the shops open, and when residents are out to suit your play style. I’m a bit of a night owl, and because I work on the weekends I end up getting onto my 3DS at about 8PM, so I’ll be making my entire town into night owls as soon as I get the chance. It’s nice to see old faces as well as the new ones.

The 3DS itself though I am very impressed with. I didn’t know what these play coins were until I researched them, and now I think I’m a bit hooked. It’s a very clever way to get you to take your 3DS with you everywhere you go. I even went as far as taking it to work with me in my pocket. In the walk to and from work I got my maximum 10 play coins for the day easily. I even took it out today with me and clocked up over 7000 steps.

I’m also impressed at the size of the 3DS in comparison to my DS Lite, as they’re pretty much the same. I was told by friends to get the 3DS XL, but I don’t like chunky handhelds, and as much as I’m sure the bigger screen would have been awesome, it would have been more money. I like how compact it is, and it fits in my hand really nicely. I’m definitely happy with my purchase. I just need to save up for some more games on it now like Pokemon X/Y and Tales of the Abyss.

2013-06-17 17.13.27

Unfortunately I am lacking any street passes at the moment due to the small town I live in, but next time I am in Manchester or London, I will definitely be taking it with me to see if I can pick any up. Feel free to leave a comment with your code if you wish.

Advertisements

The Highs and Lows of E3 2013

I’ve had my 6 hours sleep after E3, and it’s safe to say I’m still reeling off the excitement of the Sony conference last night. It wasn’t a perfect conference, suffering from the usual delay which enraged the 2AM British crew watching online, and experiencing at least one technical hitch, but that doesn’t alter the fact that Sony have easily won E3 for me so far. Jack Tretton essentially punched Don Mattrick to the floor, and continued to kick him while he was down, and I think Sony deserve every ounce of praise they get for that. It wasn’t all about Sony though, and it’s not all about the console war. Here are my personal highlights, and lowlights of E3 2013, including games as well as hardware.

Microsoft had the tough job of opening the show after a less than warm reception to their new console, the Xbox One. They did however stick to their promise of keeping their conference all about the games. In a bold move, slightly copied from Sony, Xbox 360 gold members are going to be treated to two exclusive, free games each month up until the release of the Xbox One, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3 are the only titles confirmed for this so far. Microsoft Points are also changing into local currency, so you can now buy your games in GBP, USD etc without having to pay for more than you need in MSP.

Onto the new games however, and Microsoft had a lot to be proud of. Max The Curse of Brotherhood looks like a fun side scroller for the Xbox 360, while the Xbox One will be getting Ryse Son of Rome, as well as the intriguing Sunset Overdrive, to mention just a few. Project Spark made use of Kinect, allowing you to build your own game world starting with the landscape, as well as your own characters, villages and monsters. This will appeal to fans of games such as The Sims, and those who dream of building their own games and it does look like a lot of fun.

image_303527_16x9_620

Sunset Overdrive looks gruesome in a fun, cartoon-y way

Unfortunately, Microsoft came out with a rather high price point for the Xbox One, coming in at $499 and £429. I will never understand the inability to be able to convert currency efficiently in the games industry, but that’s steep by anyones estimations.

Next up were EA, the home of sports games and some truly incredible gaming franchises. Choosing to open with Plants VS Zombies Garden Warfare was an inspired move, opening the conference on a light-hearted note, and it does look like serious amounts of fun. Peggle 2 was also announced, pleasing the Popcap fan base immensely.

Next up was Need for Speed Rivals, a title which I am very excited about. As long as this performs better than Most Wanted I’ll be happy. Another title I was thrilled to see was Dragon Age Inquisition. Though it may have been brief, it certainly looks exciting, and if Dragon Age 2 was anything to go by, this could be an utterly astounding title in 2014.

Unfortunately, EA Sports just had to take up a big chunk of time with their ‘new’ games. I know I’m in a minority when I say I couldn’t care less, but I do appreciate the graphics that they showcased with titles such as Madden NFL and UFC. They’re just not for me.

Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for finally happened; Mirror’s Edge 2 finished off the conference with a very stylish trailer, showing the classic gameplay fans of the original have grown to love, as well as improved graphics. The roar of excitement from the room was incredible.

The third conference slot was taken up by Ubisoft. Unfortunately for Ubisoft, they chose to use the same awful host from last year, thinking it was a good idea to promote the hash tag #girlwood from last years equally cringeworthy conference. The host was terrible, not funny and unnecessarily crude at times. I want to hear about games, not someones sexual promiscuity.

Anyway, Ubisoft had a few surprises up their sleeves with PC title The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot which looks a little bit like Torchlight on speed if I’m honest, and that’s a good thing. They also went on to showcase new racing game The Crew, which puts a bit of a unique spin on the racing genre. The clue is in the title, you are part of a crew of racers battling to infiltrate and take over criminal organisations in an incredible open world. You can also tune your car as much as you want, from the inner workings to the shiny exterior, as well as using SmartGlass to craft a car while out of the game. It looks new and exciting, and I can’t wait to see more.

359993

The Crew looks fun and new

Assassin’s Creed 4 also had an interesting, if not slightly laggy live demo, which leads me to believe that it’s going to infinitely better than Assassin’s Creed 3. The usual suspects like The Raving Rabbids and Rayman made an appearance too with some pre recorded gameplay, and two new Trials games were announced; one for console, and one for mobile devices.

Finally, the conference we had all been waiting for, Sony. Sony had kept quiet about their stance on the used games argument, always online etc, as well as the look of their console. Early on Sony had unveiled their new console, which bore a striking resemblance to the Xbox One, but appeared to be much smaller. I’m not sold on the design just yet, but I’ll need to see more images, and maybe a size comparison with Xbox One.

PS4 with controller-580-90

It’s not a pretty console, but it’ll do

True to form, Sony went straight in with the games, and my goodness do they have some good games coming up. The only company to announce the new episode of The Walking Dead, titled 400 Days, is coming to Vita, as well as their promised HD versions of games such as God of War 1&2, as well as FFX & FFX-2. They carried on at a quick pace, blasting us with trailer after trailer for new games. No talk, just games. Games such as Puppeteer, Rain, Beyond Two Souls and Batman Arkham Origins, all for the Ps3.

Then onto the PS4 titles; The Order 1886, Drive Club, Infamous Second Son and Knack. And then the first blow to Microsoft came; high support for indie developers. A stage full of indie developers playing their games live, screens behind them, looking glorious. Titles such as Mercenary Kings, Don’t Starve and Oddworld New ‘n’ Tasty were just a few that were mentioned.

A personal favourite moment of mine is when Square Enix finally gave us a new trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. But here’s the kicker; It’s no longer called Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but is being developed as Final Fantasy XV. I’m not so sure about the gameplay so far, it has a look of Crisis Core, but the graphics looked beautiful, and so undoubtedly Final Fantasy. The next shocker? Kingdom Hearts 3. Finally, Kingdom Hearts 3 is happening. I was getting so overjoyed at all this news that I forgot to update my live blog for a good ten minutes (That, and sleep deprivation). Squeenix really knew what to announce to get their fans back.

BMchiObCUAAyCFO.jpg_large

Final Fantasy Versus XIII becoming Final Fantasy XV is probably a good move

And finally, the glorious moment for Sony was this; PS4 supports used games. Want more? Ps4 users can lend their games to anyone, at no extra cost. More? PS4 doesn’t need to be online to play your games, and there are no authentication checks along the way. The best part? $399, £349 pricepoint. Sony listened to the consumer, and the crowds cheers of excitement are testament to Sony’s success this year.

So those are my highlights and (minimal) lowlights of E3. What about you? Do you think Sony stole the show, or is there more to this than meets the eye? Are Microsoft still your favourite, or are Nintendo going to sneak in through the back door with their Nintendo direct later on? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned with Ramblings of a Gaming Girl for live updates from the Nintendo direct at 3PM BST.

 

Summer 2013 Wishlist

Seeing as I am resigned to university work until pretty much the end of April, that leaves very little time for gaming. I’ve missed several games already, and I’m going to be missing a lot more. So to depress myself even further, I thought I would make a little wishlist for the summer. I intend on buying these games in bulk, sitting in my bedroom and playing them for hours, if not days on end.

Ni No Kuni

The JRPG nerd in me craves this so bad. Ghibli and Level-5 is just nerdgasm inducing. I’ve seen mixed reviews on it, but I still want it in my life. It’s got a lot to compete with after Tales of Graces f, but I trust that Level-5 can at least go on par with Namco Bandai to give us something truly amazing. The graphics look amazing, but I do have to say I found the demo fiendishly difficult. Whether that’s because it was all out of context I don’t know, but I found it frustraingly difficult, and I haven’t even finished the demo because of it.

Ni-No-Kuni-01

Dead Space 3

My Dad has already been on the phone to me, telling me how amazing Dead Space 3 is. As if I needed to be told. The demo really disappointed me, but only because I had seen it already. Sure it was scary, and yeah, the new weapons system was really amazing, but I had seen it all before so it kind of dampened it a bit for me. Regardless though, I’m still excited about getting Dead Space 3 firmly into my hands, and I can’t wait to get back into the twisted head of Isaac Clarke. Probably one to be played during the day though. I fear I may wake up the whole house if I play it at my usual night time hour.

Dead_Space_3_13449647107732

Assassins Creed 3

I know, I’m really late to the party on this one, but I’m just so glad that Ezio has finally been laid to rest that I can’t help but feel excited about this game. There is undoubtedly a sense of scepticism, but that’s only due to it being in a new location and with a new character. More than anything I just want to know what on earth is going on in this game and if we’re ever going to get a solution to the weird things that keep happening.

assassins_creed_3_2012_game-wide

Bioshock Infinite

Words don’t really describe my excitement about this game. I loved both Bioshock games so far, but I think it’s great that they’ve moved away form Rapture. A world so twisted and amazing can only be done so many times. Again though, there is a little bit of scepticism in my brain, but only because I love the series so damn much. The story looks just as gritty as previous efforts, and the powers look more amazing than ever before. There is no way this game can’t be good, right?

lizcomstock_ONLINE

So those are my top four games that I really want at the moment. If I could freeze time and buy them all without having uni work nagging at me, then I definitely would. Another Kairosoft game has popped up on the Google Play store, but it’s only in Japanese at the moment. It looks awesome though, and hopefully better than Dream House Days. Ninjas have got to be a good premise, there’s no way they can fail with that. As long as they keep away form in app purchases!

The tax man also sent me a letter today telling me that he wants to give me a tax rebate, so that might help when it comes down to buying all of these games (and many more) at the end of April. I’m attending a family wedding the week after I finish university for the year, so it’s going to have to be a week of gaming, then a week of weddings and being on holiday, and then back to gaming. With all these great releases coming up, it’s very tempting to bring my Xbox to the wedding with me and hook it up to the TV at the B&B. We shall see…

 

Dead Space 3 Preview

Nursery rhymes sung by the ghost of your dead girlfriend, and disfigured aliens jumping from air vents. If any of the above rings a bell, then you must know that Dead Space 3 is making its way to you very soon, complete with guns and very hungry monsters. The only difference is, this time you’re going to have a partner in crime.

321173

There has been a running theme in Dead Space, and the third title in the series looks to explore this theme further; dementia. Isaac Clarke is a tough cookie, but seeing the ghost of your dead girlfriend everywhere you look, and being constantly harassed by aliens who want to devour your limbs is enough to drive anyone to partial insanity.  Throw in the alien markers, which are designed to do just that, and Isaac’s brain is probably a pile of mush.  At any moment he could just sit himself in the corner of the room, and start rocking back and forth like a baby.

This entry in the series sees Isaac embark on perhaps his biggest and most terrifying mission ever. He still hasn’t uncovered the secret of the necromorphs, or what on earth is going on with that evil marker, but as he traipses across the universe, he’s looking for answers, even if those answers might make him lose his mind even more, or perhaps get him killed for good. Perhaps it is good then that Isaac is to be joined by another human being this time, someone else to share the crazy with.

Dead Space has always been about survival, about being alone. Anyone who played Dead Space 2 will remember the slight feeling of ‘no, that’s not right’ as the game introduced other characters into the mix. Sure, you hardly ever got to actually interact with them as they were always conveniently trapped behind a pane of glass, in complete and utter peril, but they were still there, removing some of that element that survival horror fans live off.

Dead Space 3 takes it one step further however, and introduces an actual co-op partner, and this time he’s not behind an unbreakable pane of glass. Sergeant John Carver joins you on your journey through the deadly ice planet of Tau Volantis.

dead_space_3_1

I can hear all survival horror fans booing at the very thought of having a co-op partner in Dead Space. ‘But they ruined Resident Evil with co-op!’ I hear you cry. Fear not my die-hard survival horror fans, for co-op is merely an option in Dead Space 3. If you would rather go it alone, then Isaac will plod on, his brain full of alien marker nonsense, and will likely have his limbs dragged through air vents upon many occasions.  However, if you do decide to go it alone you will miss out on some interesting plot developments that both Isaac and Carver go through during their time with each other.

If you do decide to give co-op a quick bash, you can opt to play as Carver, instead of playing as Isaac. This will no doubt bring an entirely new element to the game, which some will find interesting.

Another potential risky element that has been added this third installment is the built-in Kinect features. Once again I can hear the anti-Kinect fans foaming with rage in the back of my head, screaming that Kinect simply won’t work in Dead Space. Calm yourselves my friends, as it is only voice recognition that is being utilized here, arguably the only real use for Kinect, but that’s for an entirely different story.

Weapon crafting will also take an entirely new route, allowing you to make your own unique weapons. You can first select your frame, lightweight for swifter combat, or heavy duty for a much harder punch. You can then choose your upper tool, the main piece of destruction dealing, and then your upper adaptor, picking the way in which your projectiles will be fired. Add various other elements to your weapon for a truly unique creation, much more interesting than simply upgrading what you already have.

Dead-Space-3-4

For those who can’t wait to get their hands on the game, a demo for Dead Space 3 will be hitting the Xbox Live Marketplace, and the PSN on January 22nd.

Dead Space 3 will be released on February 8th, 2013, and even though it’s taking an entirely different route than before, it’s a must for any fan of this seriously scary series.

 

 

Ponderings on Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012)

My boyfriend stayed for a few days this week, and we decided that when he left we should get a game we can play together through Xbox Live. It’s going to be about another 3 months before he comes to stay again, so a bit of gaming should keep us going. We both love playing Need for Speed Hot Pursuit together, so it only seemed logical to Need for Speed Most Wanted. Now, when it comes to racing games I’m really not very good. I enjoy them, but I mostly end up sounding like James May off Top Gear, shouting ‘Oh, cock’ every time I crash into a wall or another vehicle. Nonetheless, it provides amusement for myself and the man so off we popped to HMV in our respective locations, armed with money off vouchers and a clear goal in mind; Getting the game for less than £30.

Anyway, I had a good three hour session on the game last night and had a little burst today so I just wanted to give my quick feelings on it. First of all, I think the IGN review is far too nice to this game, and I would definitely sway more towards GameSpots rating. Why? Because it is by no means perfect. I played the Alpha version of this game a while back, and while the single player has certainly been improved, the multiplayer aspect is just as frustrating as when I first played it.

The single player is a lot of fun, and you certainly feel the speed as you are racing around. I’m on the fence about having all the cars available to you at the beginning. I understand that they wanted the cars to be accessible from the very beginning for players of any level, but even for me as a player who is by no means fantastic, I feel as though they have taken some incentive away from me. As much as it frustrates me to start with a rubbish car, the satisfaction of building up to a bigger and better one is a wonderful feeling. You don’t get that in this game. You get excited when you find a new car, but that’s all you did, you found it. You have found a beautifu Koenigsegg, but you didn’t do anything special to get to it.

When it comes down to the narrative, it’s entirely non existent in my opinion. You have to beat the ten most wanted cars, and that’s it. Do some races along the way, earn some NOS and you’re sorted. This isn’t a criticism from me, but some might find this a little offputting. The races with the Most Wanted are fun to do, and chasing them down after you beat them is great as well. The cop chases are very high speed and fun to do, but when you’re in a less than desirable car and your most wanted level is creeping up it can be very difficult to get away from them.

My main gripe with the game is the multiplayer however. I’ve seen the multiplayer praised online, but I just don’t understand why. It feels broken. There is no option to just do a quick race with a friend like you could in Hot Pursuit and this really frustrated me and the boyfriend. All we wanted to do was drop into a multiplayer session, be dropped where we needed to be and have a good old fashioned race. Instead we were met with a list of challenges, making us drive around the map to start them, and find that we were facing the wrong way. Personally I think the multiplayer isn’t very accessible at all. I think for newcomers to the series it’s going to be very jarring, and an unpleasant experience. It’s too slapdash, and it has no organisation to it. I understand it’s meant to continue the open world feeling, but I just don’t think it works.

I paid £27.99 for the game and I don’t regret it. The multiplayer in my opinion needs a patch to make it more accessible, but the single player is good fun, if not a little repetitive. The game is fast paced, and there are some beautiful cars in it. The scenery is beautiful, and it’s fantastic that you are not restricted just to the normal path. Shortcuts take you to new cars, and to new billboards to smash through. As a final little nod to Criterion, I very much appreciate the little garages dotted around the map, letting you fix your car as you drive through in the middle of a race, and get a new paint job while you’re at it.

Most Wanted is an arcade racer, and it’s clear to see that from the visuals and the gameplay. If you want something as good as Hot Pursuit in terms of challenge, don’t buy this game. There is very little challenge in getting the cars, only in completing the races. You can’t pimp your car as much as I was expecting which is a let down, but again, it’s an arcade racer not a sim.