Busy nowadays – follow me on Twitter

As you can see, I haven’t been blogging too much lately. It’s mainly due to a combination of time constraints and lack of motivation. Therefore, if you want to keep reading my thoughts on all things gaming, I suggest you follow me on Twitter @zalmantweets. I’m not abandoning this site, but I won’t post as much as I did earlier. It’s still fun to make a longer post about a topic every now and then though, and that’s where this blog will come in handy.

So again, follow me @zalmantweets for gaming news and thoughts. It’s also an easy way to keep in touch with me if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!

The E3 Nintendo Direct of my dreams

E3 2013 is almost here! I can’t contain my excitement! Currently writting this on the hype train. So, what do you do on the hype train? You imagine the endless possibilities of this wonderful event. Today, I’m going to let you know how I imagine Nintendo’s upcoming Direct to be. Keep in mind this is not realistic at all, and this is not what I’m expecting nor predicting. This is just me having fun while building up more hype. If the real Direct is just half as good as this, I’d be content!

Without further ado, let’s do this!

    • Iwata on screen. “Hello and welcome to E3.”
    • First bomb dropped. SUPER MARIO UTOPIA. A full open world experience similar to Jak and Daxter. Miyamoto shows up, talks about two player co-op. Since it’s the Year of Luigi, Luigi is playable. One player on the GamePad and one on the TV. Yoshi returns. Releases this fall.
    • “Yoshi is also set to appear in his own game.” Shows off a YARN YOSHI trailer. Releases this fall.
    • Next topic is WII SPORTS U. More sports than ever. Out this fall. New Wii U + Wii Sports U bundle announced. WII FIT U and WII U PARTY also coming this fall.
    • “As you can see, we are preparing a steady line-up of new games for the rest of the year. However, we will also release some old ones.” Announces HD COLLECTIONS for Mario and Zelda. More to come in the future.
    • On the note of rereleases, Iwata shows off a trailer for WIND WAKER HD. Out this fall. Eiji Aonuma comes on screen, talks about new features. The brand new HD Zelda isn’t ready yet, but tells us to stay tuned.
    • Iwata invites a Sega guy on screen to briefly talk about SONIC: LOST WORLD and MARIO & SONIC. Out this fall. Talks about their strong relationship with Nintendo. This relationship results in F-ZERO UX. 1080p, 60fps, online multiplayer w/ leaderboards. “10 years since F-Zero GX.” Releases in 2014.
    • On the topic of racers, Iwata presents the first trailer for MARIO KART U-TURN. Features optional double dash mode, a blue shell toggle, deeper car customization. Out this fall. Also available in a new Wii U bundle.
    • “Another game we promised in January was our Atlus collaboration title, FIRE EMBLEM X SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI.” Shows off first gameplay trailer. Releases in 2014.
    • On the topic of third party collaborations, Iwata invites Kamiya from Platinum Games on screen. Briefly talks about THE WONDERFUL 101 and how it’s out soon. Shows off first gameplay trailer for BAYONETTA 2. Out 2014. “We are also working on another game together. Please take a look.” A short teaser trailer for STAR FOX U shows up, similar to the first Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei trailer. “Coming soon.”
    • “We are almost done for today, but I have a few more important topics to talk about.” Mentions Monolith’s upcoming game and shows a new trailer. Official title: XENOBLADE 2. Coming 2014.
    • Screen fades to Reggie sitting in his office. “Hello everyone. We hope you’re enjoying the show. I have another new game to announce for this fall from Retro Studios, the masterminds behind Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Take a look.” It’s a BRAND NEW IP. A massive cinematic 3D game. Looks semi-realistic. Out in a few months.
    • Iwata returns. Ends with a bang. A trailer for SUPER SMASH BROS. 4. Newcomers shown: Shulk, Little Mac, Waluigi. Reveals 3DS connectivity and differences between the versions. 2014. “Mr. Sakurai and his team are working very hard to make this game as good as possible.” Announces the return of the Smash Bros. Dojo. Updates will begin TODAY.
    • Thank you for watching, see you on the show floor.

What a ride! Yeah, you can call me insane. I’m sure much of this won’t happen, but hey, a guy can dream! Next week can’t come soon enough.

Ratchet & Clank movie hitting in 2015

Okay, this is pretty cool. Insomniac has announced that they have partnered with Blockade Entertainment and Rainmaker Entertainment to finally produce a Ratchet & Clank movie! Insomniac themselves will be heavily involved in the production, screenplay, character development and so forth. They’re even writing the script.

Check out the trailer!

Finally, after all these years of being compared to Pixar movies, this is actually happening. Really great news. I’m definitely going to watch it when it comes out in 2015.

Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter next?  Please?

Ace Attorney 5 box art + screens

If Rockstar Games can get that much publicity by simply revealing the box art for Grand Theft Auto V, so should Capcom when they show us the one for Ace Attorney 5. Why? Because it looks great!

From left to right, it features Phoenix Wright, his assistant, the new prosecutor and Apollo Justice. Just like GTA, this series is also known for sticking with a specific box art template. In my opinion, it’s very neat. Phoenix and Apollo look great. The two others we don’t know too much about, but I like their character designs as well.

Capcom also unveiled a few new screens. It looks like Apollo will be playable as well. I’m okay with that!

AA5 screens

The game will be out in Japan this July. I’m expecting the English version to be released some time next year.

Nintendo Direct 17/4/13 – 2013DS!

So, Nintendo had another Direct today. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The fact that they said it was 3DS focused bugged me a bit, since we still didn’t have release dates for upcoming Wii U titles like Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3 (both of which were spring titles.) Well, it turned out Nintendo did give us some Wii U information after all while confirming my theory that 3DS will have the best lineup out of any other console ever had during a year.

They started off by showing more gameplay footage of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. As expected, it looks excellent. Definitely a day one purchase for me. The weird thing here is that it’s coming out on July 12th in Europe and August 11th in North America. Massive difference there! As a European, I don’t complain. Remember, Americans – we still don’t have Fire Emblem yet! We’re getting it this Friday, which is two months after you guys. Anyway, then they moved on to Mario Golf: World Tour. Honestly, I’m not really excited for this game at all. It’s probably because I’ve never been into golf games. That might change in the future, but for now, this game doesn’t do anything for me.

Afterwards, they announced a brand new game… Mario Party 3DS! Mario Party is one of my favorite multiplayer franchises ever, but sadly it has gone downhill since the Nintendo 64 days. The GameCube ones weren’t too bad, but the Wii ones were terrible. Mario Party DS was pretty good in my opinion, but nothing major at all. Currently, I’m having a hard time categorizing this new one, but it’s definitely something I’ll consider. The mini-games looked fairly fun. We’ll see about this one… Then they showed us New Super Luigi U – the New Super Mario Bros. U DLC. It’s basically a new game in the 2D Mario series, since every single level has been redesigned for Luigi. They also highlighted Luigi’s unique abilities – such as jumping higher than Mario. Nothing of this was new to us, but it was still pretty cool to see.

Next was Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. This one wasn’t really a big deal either since we knew everything beforehand. It’s basically a port of the Wii version with a new easy mode for casuals. They did say the game will have a few more levels, though, which is quite nice. I don’t think I’ll get it though, since I already bought it once. I might sell it if it turns out to be a massive improvement. This one is a “maybe” too. And then… Time for another new game! Yoshi’s Island 3! The art style is different this time. It seems that some people don’t really like it, and I can definitely see why. However, on the other hand I do like how it doesn’t look exactly like the previous games. Unless it gets some really crappy reviews, I’ll probably get it. It looks fun.

Not long after that, they started talking about the Wii U a bit. Firstly, the spring update. I have an opinion I really need to stress here. This update is commonly known as the update that will improve the loading times, but you know what? That isn’t even the best feature! I can finally turn on the machine and go straight to the Wii Menu by holding the B button! Such a fantastic idea! I’m playing a lot of Wii games nowadays (especially Pikmin 2), so it’s a perfect feature for me. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really is. Good stuff.

Next up was Pikmin 3. When Iwata mentioned the name, I just KNEW they would give us a release date. It was the perfect opportunity… Well, it turned out they didn’t – at first. Later during the press release, a launch date of August 4th was mentioned. I’m thinking this is for North America only though, but it should give everyone an idea of when they can play the game. It’s later than I initially expected – especially since they called it a spring game. Now, what will happen with The Wonderful 101? Is that one pushed back as well? We don’t know for sure.

Anyway, the footage presented a new type of Pikmin – the Winged Pikmin! As you’ve probably already guessed, they can fly. They look pretty neat. I’m looking forward to this game, but I personally have no problem waiting for August since I just recently started playing this series. I do think it’s a terrible move though, since the Wii U is in massive trouble. Hopefully they have a thing or two up their sleeve for E3. Oh, and by the way, the Pikmin 3 box art was shown. I’m a sucker for box art, so here it is.

And then… THEN… It was time for a megaton. EarthBound, a cult classic game from the SNES days, will FINALLY be released on the Virtual Console! This is massive news – especially for Europe. This is the first time ever the game will available in that region, which is awesome. Hopefully we’re a step closer to the EarthBound Collection I’ve been dreaming about for years. I’ve never played any game in the series, but I’ve always really wanted to. I hope people buy this release to show Nintendo how much we want them to support EarthBound in the west. I never, never thought this would happen. So glad to see this!

Iwata said bye and Bill Trinen showed up. He mostly talked about all the boring stuff. Game & Wario looks pretty alright though. It’s not a day one thing, but I’ll probably get my hands on it eventually. Bravely Default, Animal Crossing, Shin Megami Tensei, yada, yada, yada… We knew about this stuff already! But as soon as Reggie showed up… Man, what an announcement he made. A brand new Zelda game based on A Link to the Past will join the 3DS’ massive 2013 lineup! The game looks really great. The best way I can describe it is, “New The Legend of Zelda”. It takes the top-down view of the old school games and blends it with fresh 3D graphics. I’m happy they went this route instead of making another game like Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks.

That game was the icing on the cake. Overall, it was a great Nintendo Direct. One of the best ones ever. I was hoping for some Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney news, but oh well… We got so much other stuff. I’m already looking forward to the next one – and of course E3 too!

We’re getting a Castle of Illusion remake too?!

DuckTales Remastered looks great. The game represents a time when Disney games were actually good. Another of the popular ones is Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. It has become a fan favorite Genesis/Mega Drive classic, and I’ve personally really wanted to see a remake of it for quite some time. It looks like that’s actually happening now! To be fair, it has been rumored for a while. The Xbox Live Arcade art for it was even leaked a few days ago.

The real meat of this story is the following teaser trailer Sega just uploaded. Check it out!

The title just says “Summer 2013″ which is funny because that’s when DuckTales Remastered comes out. What’s even funnier is that these are two different companies working on Disney remakes at the same time. Coincidence? Probably, yeah, but still pretty awesome!

I’m assuming it will be out digitally for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. I’d love to see a physical version, but that probably won’t happen…

Rayman Legends gets 30 new levels after the delay

The Rayman Legends delay was pretty terrible – not only for fans, but also for the developers. The Montpellier team worked extremely hard to get the game done on time, but Ubisoft used its powers as a publisher to delay it even further for business reasons. Wii U owners were also hit extremely hard since the system would not see a single new game until March.

Well, thankfully, something good came out of the delay. Michel Ancel, the awesome lead designer of Rayman, has said that they’ve not only spent the extra time porting the game to other platforms, but also creating new content for the game. In fact, the team has 30 new levels planned along with some additional boss battles.

Honestly, I’m very happy to hear this. The delay was a stupid move by Ubisoft, and I wish it never happened, but I’m glad we’ll end up with a better game. It already looks fantastic enough! Thanks to Nintendo’s awesome Direct a few months ago, Rayman Legends is no longer my most anticipated game for the system, but still – I’ll definitely get it as soon as possible. And you should too!