It’s easy to see why N might not be a favored character with some people… But there’s a unique idea here. Rather than just being a Pokémon Trainer clone, N’s mechanic revolves around him calling in Pokémon to help him. He has an aversion to keeping pocket pets locked in their little spherical prisons, so they’ll either hang around him or be quickly summoned in with his special attacks. For example, his Up+B could summon an Archeops to carry him up a short distance. His Forward-B could Klinklang to do a beam attack, and his +Down+B could could summon Carracosta to protect him with his shell.
His Final Smash could be summoning Reshiram and/or Zekrom to drop some Fusion attacks on the stage. As for an alternate costume for this Sudowoodo-hugging hippy, I’m thinking maybe something of a more proper Team Plasma outfit. Preferably fromBlack and White 2.
We don’t have any character who uses summoning as a method of combat, and outside of pulling 3rd party characters, I think this is the best chance for a fighter like that we can get. Plus, he’s a great way to cram five or seven Pokémon from the fifth generation into the new Smash games. As it is we already don’t have character representation from the second or third generations. But we have to remain current, and aside from moving on to the 6th generation Pokémon X and Y games coming out here soon, this is where the focus should be.
I’ve pitched this idea to people in the past and some people see the merit in it, others think I’m crazy. Where do you fall on this wishlist? Either way, stay tuned because I’ve got plenty more crazy ideas coming!
It can be argued that Animal Crossing shouldn’t have a fighter. The closest thing to combat in that game is the inner conflict that occurs when you stand there with your bug-catching net behind Tangy and wonder if she deserves a good thunking. But that didn’t stop me from wanting the Villager in Smash Bros. Brawl, and It doesn’t stop me from being overly joyous at his presence in the upcoming Smash duology. And they got him more ‘right’ than I could have ever hoped.
In a video at E3, Smash Bros. creator, Masahiro Sakurai, outlined his design philosophy for the way VIllager plays. He says that Animal Crossing is a game about collecting, and for that reason Villager needs to use a lot of crap at his disposal. From dropping bowling balls on people, to chopping trees upon them, the Villager looks to be a very item-oriented character, but not necessarily one focused on zoning or traps, like one might expect. He seems like a weird indirect-attacker, and I’m interesting to see how it plays out. Especially the bit about being able to collect projectiles and then launch them back at your foes.
It really is hard to get a complete sense of what Animal Crossing‘s resident can do, and how exactly he does it. There’s not been a lot of solid footage about him in any way that demonstrates the different aspects of combat and how he takes them. For example, he can grow a tree and chop it down… but it’s a segmented move. Is it just spamming down+B? Is it a taunt that damages? And how does he grab items? Is it like a special thing he can do on a timed dodge? There’s a lot of interesting potential here, but it’s hard to see what exactly we’re looking at without some sort of demonstration video or real hands-on experience.
If there’s one thing I really want to see come out of Villager’s appearance, it’s a proper use of alternate color variations, and even alternate ‘costumes,’ to be an excuse to put Villager in different shirts. Animal Crossing is about collecting things, and that includes awesome shirts like the Fish Bone shirt, the BB shirt, and the Aloha shirt. If they don’t pick these for color variations, there has been a bigger ball dropped than this bowling ball on Mario’s head.
Finally, I wanna talk about some of the small aesthetics we can employ to give Villager the kind of experience fans of AC can get crazy over. I think a great intro animation would have Kapp’n’s taxi cab pull up and the Villager hop out. I’d love to see a taunt animation that shows him pull out a random fish from his pocket and show it off to the camera, but really the best thing to put there would be different e-motes like the Cold Wind and Laughter. Sadly there’s so many good animations and so few spaces for taunts… I just hope they up the number to all 4 directions on the D-Pad! They could probably save a couple more for victory poses, but I want to make sure we at least get the “Paid off my loans” dance in there, somewhere. That’d even be a sweet li’l victory music for him. Although I think the best choice there would be the default Town Tune, complete with randomly changing note at the end.
Alright, I realize I’m nerding out -way- to much on the Villager. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see him, though, so I hope you’ll forgive my overblown enthusiasm. What do you think, though? Are we scraping the barrel for characters? Is he the perfect fit? What shirt do you want to see him wear the most? “Leaf” your comments below! (My god, am I really going to leave it like that? Yeah… Yeah I am…)
Honestly, it was a pretty damn good assumption that Skyloft was going to be featured as a Zelda: Skyward Sword stage in some way. The question was more of a “how” than an “if.” And that “how” came out a little cooler than I thought! Warning! A might bit of spoilers for Skyward Sword‘s events lie within the article, so read on carefully!
If you’re into the whole mod scene, you may have seen Project M‘s stab at Skyloft, and honestly I rather liked it. It appears they took a chunk off of the western portion of Hyrule Temple, another sky-bound island stage first used in Melee. Then they dressed it up in Skyward colors, and had it slowly rotate around the Island of Skyloft. A fairly “Smash” stage, if I’ve ever seen one, and impressive as hell from a group of independent modders. I found the ability to put the entire Skyloft asset in the background, with birds flying around, and not dropping a frame to be quite impressive! But what the team over at Smash Bros. had in mind is a bit different, although equally impressive!
It appears, from videos, and the odd screenshot, that Skyloft is taking on the same ‘roll’ that Delfino Plaza took in the Smash Bros. Brawl, in that it’s about random platforms cruising around the town and stopping off at various locations. I’d call it a “Tourism” style stage, if I had to give it any kind of designation.
Were I to make this stage, and arguably, it’s a good thing that I’m not, I would have centered it around the statue of the Goddess Hylia. I find that to be the sort of central zone of the suspended city. And after a certain time benchmark, I would have it recreate scenes from the endpoint of Skyward Sword and plummet to the world below. This would give a segment of time where the level is low-grav, similar to the falling iceberg in Glacier Summit from Brawl, and ultimately end with a bit of a scenery change. Maybe even a visit from a certain somebody, who comes up along the side and eats people, a’la Bulbin from Distant Planet.
You can get your first look at the stage in action in the original trailer for Smash Bros. Wii U. Keep in mind that Sakurai has confirmed that the 3DS and WiiU will both sport the same roster of characters, but entirely unique levels. As somebody who oddly cares more about the levels than the characters, I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. With that in mind, remember that this stage applies only for the Wii U version, and that the 3DS version will play host to levels from portable Zelda titles, such as Spirit Tracks. But more on those to come…
What do you think? Are you excited to see Skyloft represented? DO you appreciate the Tourism style, or does any particular area call out to you as the strongest? I’d love to hear your comments below!
The Symphony of The Goddess
For this installment, I’ll be talking about some choice cuts for the Skyloft stage from Zelda: Skyward Sword. I should note upfront that I used the implementation of console-based game stages on Wii U, and portable-based stages on 3DS to help me make some decisions in my playlists. With that in mind, let’s start with the low fruit on the tree:
Skyward Sword – Ballad of the Goddess
Kind of the central theme of Skyward Sword, this particular version of Ballad of the Goddess actually didn’t show up a whole lot in the game. In fact I don’t think it did at all, which is weird. Regardless, I can already tell you this song works for Smash, because it was in the Project M. stage for Skyloft.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – The Sky
It might start off a tad understated, but this song really picks up into a powerful movement that would wonderfully accompany a stage with as much movement and exploration as Skyloft appears to have. Of all the other songs in Skyward Sword to use for Skyloft, this would be the biggest crime to ignore.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Demon Lord Ghirahim
Admittedly, a tad too dark and chaotic on its own, Ghirahim’s theme makes a tremendous Smash song nonetheless. I would certainly appreciate if there was like a stormy alternative to Skyloft that this could play during.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Clocktown
This particular version was taken from www.terriblefate.com, a site designed to advertise a remix album of music from Majora’s Mask. The album’s quite brilliant, and it highlights just why I want to see Clocktown used for Skyloft. I would say, even more than Skyloft, Clocktown is -the- most bustling, realistic town in a Zelda game.5 You can watch people live 3 full days of their life in this little world, and it’s crazy. The overall upbeat nature of it truly does work for a stage set in Skyloft. You could even have a “one minute remaining” version that uses the Third Day version of the song.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Howling Melody
One of my favorite songs in Smash Bros. Brawl was the Ocarina Medley from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In that same vain, there’s musical gold to mine in a remix of the howling themes from Twilight Princess.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Title Theme (MOKA mix)
Even if we see the title sequence music to Ocarina find it’s way into the next Smash, I’m sure it won’t be this version. However, I rather love this mix a great deal, so I thought it worth mentioning. It has enough tempo and nostalgic overtones to fit flying around the dreamy city of Skyloft.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker – Outset Island
Like Wind Waker before it, Skyward Sword featured a much more care-free hero enjoying life in their own little paradise before danger strikes. It is in that same vein that Outset Island’s theme should come forward to the Skyloft stage. It’s fun, it’s casual, and it’s reminiscent of our youth. It’s the perfect kind of song for an island shared with family and friends. While on the subject, there’s also a really great OC Remix track out there that combines Outset Island’s theme with a lamentful love song.
And you, my gorgeous, and very tasteful reader? What are your thoughts on great Skyloft music? Drop links to your favorite songs below!
Link is interesting because, if we wanna get nerdy about it, no two Link’s are the same. At least not often. That means there is a wealth of abilities, designs, weapons, and worlds to pull from when bringing him to Smash Bros. It appears, right now, that the Smash team is taking the safe route. They’re keeping him roughly how he was in Brawl, although they’ve lightened up his palette to more resemble that of Skyward Sword. I’m fairly happy with his visual design overall, especially when you look at how much detail is in things like his chain mail shirt and the stitching on his clothes.
Moveset wise, I haven’t captured anything terribly new, but hopefully he’ll have some cute new tricks like bomb rolling or the gust jar from Skyward Sword. Otherwise there’s not a terrible many things I can think to do with him.
I’m predicting that we won’t see Toon Link return. The reason for this is due to Sakurai’s recent comments about keeping the roster as sleek as possible, meaning potential (and likely) cuts to the Smash line-up we have currently. The best place to start is with the clones.With that in mind, I hope they lighten Link up some; I found him way to heavy and much preferred Toon Link’s air-combat. But hey, that’s just me. I’ll admit he felt ‘right’ given he’s supposed to be a guy full of random armor and equipment, so I can’t really argue the point of his weight.
Let’s talk alternate costumes. Right now we’re hanging between a Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess link, so that kind of covers all of our “adult Link” bases. We could go with an outfit from the start of Skyward Sword or Twilight Princess; something more casual-ware. Maybe even replace his weapons with the preliminary wooden sword shield, just for looks. Really, I’m just in it for the mad-adorable bed head. I would also except a Fierce Deity Link costume.
When I was originally writing about this last year, before there were any details, I was kind of hoping they’d go a more bold route and sack regular Link entirely, in favor of something like Wolf Link, and thus allowing Toon Link to stay in for the more default play. But that was unlikely to happen then, and now we’ve confirmed regular link is staying in. And Toon Link is very much likely out, at this point. That still leaves my Wolf Link in play… but that’s for another post…
So Link’s back, and nobody thought differently. I like his look, and he looks to be everything we’d expect him to be. What do you think, though? Were you hoping for something a little more unique? Are you glad they’re keeping him relatively safely? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
There’s not a lot to really study in screenshots released thus far. The Man in Red appears to be bringing what he always does to the game: A nice well-rounded, easy-to-use character. And that’s fine! I don’t need a whole lot of flash from Mario. He’s a safe bet, and I’m okay with that.
Aesthetically, I like that we’re toning back the “Seriously Detailed” look of Smash, in general, and I think Mario is one of those prime examples of why. He was getting to close to Photorealistic Mario, and nobody wants that. Nobody. Did you just say “Well I do!”? Because you lied to yourself.
Sakurai has commented that he’s not keen on alternate costumes because they take away from the iconic look, but I have to respectfully disagree with this assessment on two grounds. One, some characters have multiple “Iconic Looks.” Sakurai himself recognized this by adding Doctor Mario as a clone in Melee, and by giving Wario an alternate costume in Brawl. While I understand it’s low on priorities, I think it’s a great place for DLC down the road. That’s right, I said it. It’s not a need, it’s a want, and I’m okay with ponying up a little more for a want. With that in mind, I’m going to be talking Alternate Costumes for any and all of my characters moving forward.
And I may have spilled the beans a bit early defending my position, but hey, let’s spell it out. Mario’s alternate costume needs to be a return to his Dr. Mario clone from Smash Bros. Melee. You just reskin his fireballs with pills and update the sound, and otherwise you’re just about done. The FLUDD can still be the FLUDD, though if I may point out, it’d be a lot better if it power-sprayed vitamins. Instead of splashy water noises, it would make clicky glass-bottle-of-pills noises.
Those are my thoughts on the obvious return of Mario to the new series. Below are some additional screenshots of our favorite costume-swapping hero for you to enjoy.
As always, your fine self is more than welcome to post your thoughts in the comments section below! In the future, if you ever want to reference back to this specific article, I’ll have it permalinked under my Smash Bros. section on the navigation bar up top.
Remember Me is the first game developed by DONTNOD entertainment. Originally, it had a hard time finding a publisher, as many of them were reluctant to pick up a game with a female protagonist that also didn’t fatally kill every enemy you come across. Capcom eventually picked it up, and published it to three platforms (PC, Xbox, and PS3). I played it on the PC, with an Xbox controller, on the hardest difficulty. I didn’t attempt it on the mouse and keyboard, but based on how it plays, I can’t imagine it would be a fun experience.
One of it’s strongest attributes is it’s music. The soundtrack, composed by Olivier Derivière, fits the world perfectly. It adapts itself to combat, changes it’s style based on what’s going on, and is tremendously unique in terms of what it offers. I would strongly encourage at least giving the excerpts a brief listen, courtesy of the Soundcloud link below. The soundtrack itself is availible on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon MP3 if you end up wanting to check out more.
Gameplay-wise, it has a lot of things in common with Arkham Asylum, where the emphasis is more on watching the rhythm of battle and reacting accordingly over mashing out a 46 button combo that you’ve committed to muscle memory. You only ever unlock 4 ‘combos’, all of which are pretty easy to remember and make sense, reinforcing a more simple, but effective, method of combat. Where Remember Me adds it’s own sense of flair is the ‘pressen’ system. You can adjust each strike to have one of four effects: damage, health restoration, Sensen cooldowns (more on that later!), and ‘chain’. Damage and health restoration are pretty self explanatory; the ‘chain’ ones simply take on the effect of whatever precedes it. Sensen Cooldowns lower the countdown timer on your specialized abilities, which could be considered the ‘special’ moves. Each one has a different effect–one allows you to openly freeform moves in a series of devastating strikes, another brainwashes a robot enemy to your cause before it self-destructs. There’s more in there, and they definitely add a flair to the combat–they are prevalent enough so that you can use them freely, but not so common that they’re all you do. It’s a simple system that’s pretty fun, though over a multiple-hour play session it starts to feel a -little- robotic. (I’m still riding the MGS Revengeance high, though, so I get withdrawals if I’m not bisecting a Metal Gear Ray in half.)
Outside of combat, you have the typical Tomb Raider-esque platforming. Nillin, the protagonist, can climb, vault, and jump with the best of them. The game’s sense of style is amazing here, too–you never feel lost, thanks to helpful HUD elements that show you all the safe spots to jump. If you’ve ever jumped for a ledge in a game and missed just due to the fact it seemed like it should’ve been a safe haven, rest assured that doesn’t happen here. And while you do have a sweet moveset for traversing the terrain, the game is unfortunately rather linear–there’s a few branches where you can hunt down collectibles, but otherwise, it’s fairly straightforward. Personally, that’s not a huge deal to me, but there were times where I wanted to go and explore Neo Paris in all it’s beauty.
There was a few bugs here and there. Most often, a scripted event didn’t go off, leaving me without a ledge to jump to or elevator to ride. These didn’t provide a major hurdle, as the game’s checkpointing is damn brilliant. The feelings of “Oh shit, where was my last check point?”, so common with quite the number of games, didn’t occur here. Other than that, the game ran smooth as silk, and I had no problems with the initial install.
Overall, Remember Me is a solid game. There’s nothing that stands out, but the combat system has enough nooks and crannies to not feel completely redundant with other games. Where it shines is it’s art style and sense of self; it’s one of the few games where the world feels fully believable and fleshed out. The animations are top notch, too–Nillin gives a great sense of being wounded or confused or angry even when idle. Ultimately, it’s something I think people should experience for at least the sights and sounds, and the gameplay isn’t something you’ll need to suffer through for getting from point A to B.
Downloadable… Expansion? Expansionloadable Content? Whatever it is, it’s legit.
by Randy Marr
Nintendo has a history of being genre-defining, especially in the realm of platformers. It’s hard to argue that Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 didn’t set the bar for quality adventures about jumping on things. Every title in the series thereafter seems to push that bar a little more. Every game, that is, except for those with the words “New Super Mario Bros.” in it. Sure, the first one on DS was a breath of fresh air, but it’s been pretty stale since. They’re by no means bad games; they just doesn’t quite leave you a quivering mass begging for more. The poorly named New Super Luigi U, however, seeks to bring the series back to where it began: setting the bar for quality.
At first glance, it’s hard not to roll your eyes. In less than a year we’ve had New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Actually the 3rd game in the series), and New Super Mario Bros Wii U. So maybe you’re at your wits end with red-hatted jumpers; and there’s not a court in the world that would convict you. But New Super Luigi U is different, if nothing else than from a business angle. It makes gold coins and sense.
New Super Luigi U gives you double your game, for a third of your price. Here’s how it goes: you’ve already bought New Super Mario Bros. U for $60 and you had your fun. The challenge mode was a neat addition, it flashes back to a Super Mario World style overworld map, and there were even a few pleasant surprises in the story. Then along comes New Super Luigi U. For just $20 bucks, you get a brand new adventure. Sure, whatever thinly veiled scraps of story that even existed are still there, sans the red hatted plumber. The overworld map is the same for those who memorized every cranny. But each one of those 80+ dots on the map have become an entirely new level to explore. These aren’t just remixes; these are brand new ideas and designs. Thus, you get the the same amount of gameplay from New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, for only an additional $20.
For most games, DLC implies a new character, horse armor, or maybe even a cute piece of story content. For some games (Mass Effect), that content can be better than 90% of the original game. Usually, you fill fairly satisfied. You probably have some neat new weapons to take back to your main game, or a few new achievements. When was the last time you bought content like that that lasted more than 5 hours? And how much more? And was it doubling the amount of game content you owned previously? Nintendo has done what Nintendo used to do and set the bar, this time on what it means to be downloadable content.
I’d almost want to call this an expansion pack, judging by the $20 price tag and extensive amount of content… but even those only ended up being a fragment of the same content of the original game, and usually were more about continuing the story in a small way. New Super Luigi U isn’t satisfied with that. It wants you to have twice as much fun. It doesn’t hurt that, from a gameplay perspective, it is twice as much fun.
The genius in the design is where the developers created a mad-cap game with tighter, more challenging levels designed to be defeated in less than 99 Mario Seconds (Because I don’t know what else to call that obscure measurement of time). It’s about being fast, but careful, and it’s exactly what the series needs to bring back. It feels like some of the best Super Mario Bros. 3 ideas, put into a world with crazy physics and penguin suits. And where games like Ms. ‘Splosion Man have decided that dragging your level out to be 15 to 20 minutes is the best way to design your game, Nintendo’s EAD team knows that it’s short, sweet bursts of levels that truly keep you hungry for more.
The inclusion of Nabbit as a replacement for Mario was actually rather clever. In my case, my future-husband, Mike, isn’t the best at platformers. He often stops playing with me because he feels like he’s getting in my way. (Also because I’m an asshole to play any game with at all.) This changes that formula, because Nabbit, you see, is immortal. He cannot be harmed by anything other than falling down a pit. The trade off is that he doesn’t get to collect power-ups. It’s a little give and take that allows lesser-skilled players to stay apart of the action without having to be upsetting to the control-freak who’s running Luigi.
As a side note, the game is being sold independently of the DLC platform in about a month. You can go into a store and buy it on a disc for $30. Anyway, the reason I bring it up, is that if you haven’t picked up New Super Mario Bros. Wii U because you’re feeling Mario Fatigue, feel free to skip it. Pay a third of the price for the better half of the content.
New Super Luigi U is where the tightest gameplay from a Mario Game in years is coming from. The price isn’t out to destroy your wallet. I still don’t know that I want to call it DLC or an Expansion Pack. I guess, in the literal sense of the words, it is. But this content is showing that there’s so much more you can do with your game. In a world where publishers are so worried about used games and pirating, the best argument is right here. It’s not with customer-harming DRM or Online Passes; it’s coming out with amazing content and value like this that will give people the trust and the satisfaction that your product will only continue to grow in value down the road.
That’s my thought on the DLC content. What does my gorgeous readership think? Is this a good trend? Do we not like this? Isn’t Luigi just the best? Chatter away down in the boxes below!