Review: The Alliance Alive (Nintendo 3DS)

 

There’s something warm and familiar about Cattle Call’s new RPG, The Alliance Alive that really pulled me in from the beginning. While not flawless, the game has the look and feel of one of those multi-disc original PlayStation JRPGs and while not quite an “epic” experience, it’s solid enough and certainly packs in enough characters in its massive maps while hitting pretty much all the bullet points it needs to that make it an overall decently nostalgic 3DS game. I’m a big fan of much of Cattle Call’s work since the quirky PS2 sleeper Tsugunai: Atonement, so seeing the familiar color palette and simple but intriguing battle system also had me smiling throughout.

Still, it’s also a case where you sort of wish the game was on a system that was a bit to a good deal more powerful. It’s not at all hard to imagine the developer making a Switch (or heck, PS4 or even a Vita) game with higher resolution art and even more detailed characters and environments. On the 2DS or 3DS, the game’s animations and numerous cut scenes are excellently handled. However, the large overworld maps tend to be a bit bland, there’s a bit of background pop-in and if you have a poor sense of direction, it’s a bit too easy to get lost unless you choose the option to be guided to and from certain story-related areas.

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Review: Symphony of Eternity (3DS)

SOEtitleFor the record, I was so tempted to write this review in 6-point type just to vent a little at Kemco and World Wide Software for this port of their otherwise decent mobile game, Symphony of Eternity. But I kind of like having regular readers so that plan died a merciful death and you get something a lot more readable. Anyway, the game, taken on its merits is a fine and dandy revisit to the nostalgic days of 8-bit console RPGs and there’s a decent amount of content for that low price point of $7.99 (yes, it’s worth a buy).

The big caveat is the playing the game on either the standard 3DS or worse, a 2DS will subject your eyeballs to some pretty darn tiny visuals on the main screen and a tinier map on the second screen. Worse, the game uses a few different camera positions and only one allows you to see what you’ve paid for with a full screen. Amusingly enough, that viewpoint is a standard overworld view… but you actually only use that map for getting from one point to another as the game has no overworld combat. Every fight takes place in dungeons of assorted size where that larger screen would have been very welcome, thank you much.

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Etrian Odyssey V: The Big Blowout Strikes

How “funny” is this? Yesterday I get my Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond The Myth review code (Thanks, Atlus!) and I’m giddy about that because it’s been a really good year for games and EO has been consistently awesome (although it needs to be on a more powerful system, in my opinion). Having put some quality time into the recent eShop demo meant I’d start off with a party pretty prepared for the challenge ahead (whee!). So, I fire up the game and play for a few hours until I need to recharge my 2DS, whip out the AC adapter, plug it in and about a minute into recharging… the adapter ups and dies on me. One word sprung to mind and yes, I have the WORST luck with technology of anyone I know.

(Sings) I’m Mister Tech Miser, I’m Mister Dumb… (now I need to write the rest of this at some point, but with my luck, the I’ll cut myself and bleed on the keyboard, which will summon a demon I can’t control or something) – back in a bit. It’s a good thing I have a few other games to review on systems that still work while I wait for my replacement charger to show up.

-GW

Symphony of Eternity VS My Old Eyes

SoE_Nintendo.PNGGrrr. I like a few of Kemco’s old-school style JRPGs, but I avoid the mobile versions because I hate playing games on a phone and having ads pop up every five minutes because I’m a complete cheapskate who doesn’t like buying additional content if a game says it’s free to play or has a budget price point.

Amusingly enough, I’ve picked up a few of their PSP, Vita and Nintendo 3DS releases over the years and for the most part, like what I’ve played. That said, their latest Nintendo 3DS/2DS game, Symphony of Eternity, ($7.99, Nintendo eShop) is making me go cuckoo because while I like it so far, warts and all… it’s hard to see the darn game thanks to a kooky design choice.

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Monster Hunter Stories Hands-On: Sweet Spot Central

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MHS_3DSWell, Monster Hunter Stories will very likely be a big ol’ very well deserved smash hit for Nintendo, Capcom and developer Marvelous! when it lands at retail and on the eShop September 8, but it really needs to be on a more powerful system that would allow it to be even better visually.

Yeah, I said it – the well-aged 3DS hardware just can’t handle all the game wants to show off and that’s too bad in this day and age.  So you get NPC’s popping in, occasional frame rate drops, some nice-looking (but would be nicer looking on an HD system or handheld) cinemas and a few other issues. That said, the game is fun as heck and absolutely the most accessible Monster Hunter game to date.
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Granted, I’m someone who has a huge love/hate thing going with this franchise for over a decade. The character and enemy designs are great, but up until this turn-based installment, the combat has always been what left me annoyed. The funny thing is, MHS grabbing at the brass ring cash cow Pokemon has been for decades makes for a game that’s hard to dislike unless you’re not a fan at all of “Gotta catch ’em all!” styled play.

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E3 2014: Two More Nintendo eShop Future Hits, Indie Style!

 
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a game I’m looking forward to because I can play it on the Wii U at home on a big screen and not have to worry about missing my stop on the bus or subway, someone clubbing me over the head to steal a handheld or some kid with better skills than me yelling at me from my left or right to jump faster. I hate it when that happens. Darn kids. Anyway, Wayforward Technologies is doing this 2D action/platformer up right as rain and it’s making me grin to see it all coming together so well.

 
Shovel Knight is another eShop soon to be classic I’m REALLY looking forward to playing. That “retro” aesthetic is in full effect as you can see – the game looks like it’s straight from the late 80’s (and that’s a good thing). The game is still in development and available to pre-order for PC already, but I’m holding out for the Wii U version as again, I’d like to save my eyeballs a bit longer and prefer playing on a TV and not a tiny 3DS screen or too close to a computer monitor. Then again, as rusty as I am at these old-school platformers, I just may as well hire some kid to play them for me, ha and ha-ha…

Monster High: 13 Wishes Looks to Scare Up Some Halloween Fun on Nintendo Platforms

Although… it’s quite funny to me because some parental groups out there are more scared of Monster High than they are of actual bad things, blaming the hugely popular dolls for all the wrong things and in some cases, banning their daughters from even going near anything related to the show. Too bad for those eternal sourpusses, I say. Maybe they REALLY need to do some gaming to chill out for a bit and see that it’s not eeeeee-vil at all. Maybe they need to play Monster High: 13 Wishes out NOW exclusively for all current Nintendo platforms (Wii U, Wii, 3DS/2DS and DS).

This one looks like it’ll be simple and reliable platforming fun for fans of the dolls and yes indeed, I think I’d play this just because I like the unpretentious nature of the family-friendly licensed game. Okay, that sounded pompous, didn’t it? Hey, don’t let the “big” words scare you off now, I say. If you’re a fan of the girls, you’ll probably be giving this a by for that kid who wants it but then play it yourself once they’re asleep. Hey, we all need a guilty pleasure and if this keeps your head out of the fridge and out of that bowl of Halloween candy, it’s all good, right?

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: ANOTHER WayForward Surprise!

What the what? I had to do a double take when I saw this news, as Shatae has all of a sudden hit the gaming limelight three times this year and these last two titles are going to no doubt get her on the minds of many more gamers out there. Granted, the currently in development Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is ONLY for the Nintendo 3DS (but I’m guessing it will run on the new 2DS), but I and I’m betting nearly every Vita owner wants their own version of this game so they can see what all the fuss is about. I’m gathering Wayforward needs to hear from Vita owners (and PS3/PS4 owners) because this magic gal is the life of the party when it comes to delivering the classic gaming greatness that’s never going to die. Color me happier by the minute – keep it up Wayforward and the top of my head will flip clean off from smiling too broadly!

Nintendo Tries To Be Funny, 1DS Joke Falls Flat (and Probably Confuses Some)…

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Ay, Carumba! OK, Nintendo, just stop it. STOP IT. Seriously. People thought the 2DS was a big fat joke because it had been done to death as a joke meme when the 3DS was announced, but you guys ended up taking that back with last week’s official 2DS announcement. Of course, that led to MANY Nintendo 1DS joke images that got lame after the first dozen or so images, but here comes Nintendo, pulling off the biggest joke with an actual fake site for a nonexistent device that will to some people who think it’s actually a great idea, something they’d actually want to buy. Duh. Yeah, and yep, there’s a disclaimer on the site that’s worth a chuckle, yet insulting at the same time to anyone not used to Nintendo’s way of following their own path and ignoring the mobile market (for now).

Anyway, yuk it up while you can, people – when your fans start clamoring for that 1DS, you’ll wish you’d never cooked up this shortsighted gag…

Meet The Nintendo 2DS (Yes, It’s Real!), Wii U Deluxe Cut $50 on 9/20

2DS_BoxAs usual, Nintendo certainly isn’t following the crowd or path some would expect as yet again, they’ve whipped out some big surprises to get more money rolling into their hefty coffers. The latest eye-popper is a new handheld system, Nintendo 2DS, which is basically a fully functional 3DS with all the same features except the 3D slider (in other words, it will run everything the 3DS and 3DS XL does just fine, but not in 3D).

Its paradoxically chunky but slim form factor is clearly geared towards younger gamers (and collectors of Nintendo systems, of course), 2DS will launch on October 12 in the US for $129 (a European model also arrives on the same day) and is sure to get families with younger children snapping these up as gifts. While it looks bizarre (at least to me), reports from a few lucky journalists who’ve gotten some play time reveal 2DS is lighter and has a extremely sturdy construction (Nintendo is known for its nearly kid-proof handhelds) and that price point is quite attractive.

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