All posts filed under: Video Games Impressions

Nintendo Memories: Wii U

Kane Bugeja Bayonetta 2 Look! On the store shelves! It’s a Wii! It’s a new controller! It’s an entirely new console with a similar name! And so began the Wii U’s downfall. Which is a shame, because it’s not a bad console, it just had terrible marketing. Still, I have one and I enjoy it, so…that’s something. Though it is still objectively another quirky gameplay gimmick, it is one that…I was going to say “works in theory” but I just realised that I’ve never actively used the gamepad screen for anything. Barring my initial introduction to the system and a Mario hide-and-seek mini game, the Gamepad has more or less served as a large, unexpectedly comfortable controller. The simple fact that it is directly below a player’s normal range of vision prevents it from truly bolstering gameplay as a second screen and its limited range hinders its capabilities as a surrogate main screen, leaving the console as a shell of what it could be, living under the misconception that it is a small addition to …

Nintendo Memories: 3DS

Kane Bugeja Pokemon Rumble Blast Once touch screens and motion controls have come and…somewhat stayed, what is next in the world of gaming? 3D. Like in the movies, but also just as forgettable. Okay, maybe that’s a little unfair, but, from personal experience, 3D really did not change anything about my handheld gaming experience. Apart from the curiosity that spurs me to check each game’s 3D mode once, I almost exclusively plays sans this feature, despite owning a 3DS. Of course, as is probably the case for most people, I own it for the games, not the additional dimension. Thus, I will forever be thankful that there is a slider to easily remove this feature from any and all games. Handhelds are designed for travel play after all and being forced to hold one steady at an exact distance from your face is very counter-intuitive. Yes this has been fixed with the (poorly named) New 3DS, but still, you know what I mean. As far as games go however, I really enjoy the 3DS. As …

The Esoteric Breath of Video Games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the first open world Zelda game. That right there was the first reason why I lost complete interest in it since day one. Well great, another open world video game in a market where have one too many sandbox adventures. These games are all about excessive space, most of it serving no real purpose to the gameplay or game design. Be it role playing games, first person shooters, or straight up action games, we have seen far too many open world games and it’s become the most saturated sub-genre of gaming. Given the power of current technology, they’ve done away with intricate level and game design, instead providing vast amounts of nothing to traverse through. It’s hard to invest yourself in these sandbox worlds when they feel so devoid of life and meaning. Origins There were exceptions, and I don’t know if I would call this an open world game per se, but Shadow of the Colossus on the PlayStation 2 thrust players into a desolate land, …

Nintendo Memories: Wii

Kane Bugeja Red Steel 2 The Nintendo Wii, the experimental console with the funny name. You see, because Wii sounds like…you know, nevermind, you know what it sounds like. But what it also sounds like is a brand new gaming experience, full of movement and exercise and…sitting down lazily swinging your arms around, pretending that you’re standing up. Yet another gameplay element/gimmick subsumed by gamers overall aversion to physically enacting the movements of characters. You know, because if we could actually do the things videogame characters could do, we’d be doing them. Man I wish I could double jump. Digression aside, one of the most inherently Wii experiences I ever had was through Red Steel 2. One part Western, one part samurai film, this game brought forth the Motion Plus, an add-on designed to improve the Wii’s motion tracking. Which was somewhat of a success. Though Red Steel 2 was definitely one of the more complete motion gameplay experiences I’ve had, there were certainly times where swinging wildly outclassed intention and skill. Still, even ballistically …

Nintendo Memories: DS

Luke Halliday Bomberman DS The Nintendo DS is a console I hold near and dear to my heart. Not only do I have so many fond memories playing with my brother and sister with the system, the Nintendo DS was the final gift I received from my grandmother before her passing. She has terminal cancer and the last gift she got for us all before her time had come was a Nintendo DS for each of us. She knew how much we loved gaming and she was happy to support our passions and was always a big proponent that what’s fun is good. With the Nintendo DS I got a few games; Nintendogs, Super Mario 64 DS, and Bomberman DS. The latter of which became the go to game for me and my siblings. We spent hours and hours blowing each other up, it was us against the COMs but it felt like us against the world. We use to pretend that we were playing online against people around the world, even though the game …

Nintendo Memories: GameCube

Luke Halliday The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker So finally we have made our way to the little purple box that could. The GameCube holds a very special place in my heart, in fact I still consider it my favourite video game console of all time. I spent countless hours diving into the wonderful worlds of the GameCube, I don’t really know quite where to begin even. My first interactions with the GameCube came with a display unit at my local Kmart, I watched on with keen fascination as kids lined up to play Smash Bros Melee on the system. Eventually me and my younger brother got our turn and were blown away by how much the game had improved upon the original. This would be a common theme for my other ventures on the GameCube. While the GameCube didn’t feature some revolutionary controller or gimmick, it revolutionized with its games, taking the familiar faces of Nintendo and doing something wildly different with them. Whether it be the water wonderland of Super Mario Sunshine, …

Nintendo Memories: Game Boy Advance

Kane Bugeja Zoids: Legacy The Game Boy Advance was a console that certainly lived up to its name. Compared to its predecessor, the GBA was a powerhouse console. At least from the perspective of a child. The graphical upgrade was amazing and games utilised colours to a far greater extent than the console named after such a visual mechanic. Combine this with the cavalcade of games, both old and new, and you’ve got yourself a handheld that saw the Game Boy era to a powerful end. In the mix of awesome games that made this console, such as Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire and Emerald, Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury, Sonic Advance 3 and (obviously) Bionicle: Maze of Shadows, there was one game that stood out to me more than any other: Zoids: Legacy. Terribly translated and damn near indecipherable for anyone who had not seen the series, Legacy was a hot mess of an adaptation. And boy did I love it. Still do. With Zoids games few and far between, I am so glad that I said …

Nintendo Memories: Game Boy Color

Frank Inglese Pokemon Crystal Pokemon is a franchise that I keep close to my heart even to this day because of its impact on my young life. As an only child with no Father and a Mother that had to work long hours to sustain our small family, it was Pokemon that gave me a strange, inorganic sense of companionship. I related to the young boy on the screen, travelling around the world with no-one but his trusty pets. It helped me deal with a lot of the trauma of my childhood and, in fact, still does so today. Pokemon Crystal, specifically, will remain my personal favourite Pokemon title to this day, it seems, not only because of its base excellence but because of the connection between myself and my now passed Father that it still represents. Prior to the release of the second generation, my Father took me on a trip into Sydney City to attend a small but impactful convention that revolved around Pokemon and the upcoming video game releases. For the life …

Nintendo Memories: Nintendo 64

  Frank Inglese Pokemon Snap My first true obsession, dating back to when I was far too young to be addicted to anything at all, was without a doubt Pokemon. My first ever Pokemon game was Blue, followed by Red and then Yellow. As I said; I was well and truly hooked. After receiving my Nintendo 64, it was Pokemon Snap that had me enthralled. My parents, being the ones who fueled the fire of my Pokemon video game dependency, didn’t necessarily know what the title was, but saw Pokemon and naturally believed it to be a good choice…it was! Pokemon Snap took players on a journey into the realm of Pokemon in a way unlike any previous game. It was NOT a turn-based RPG, for one, and you could not capture and collect Pokemon. It was, instead, a game about a young photographer who just so happens to live in the Pokemon world. For the very first time it felt like I, as the player, was directly interacting with the world I dreamed of being …

Nintendo Memories: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Jahanzeb Khan Street Fighter II Turbo Despite being a die hard SEGA fan and the Mega Drive (Genesis) being my unanimous 16 bit machine of choice, my very first foray into video games ever was through the Super Nintendo. The first video game I ever played was Star Fox (known in PAL territories as Star Wing). Star Fox didn’t necessarily cement my love for video games (the would be Sonic the Hedgehog) but it was still a hell of a way to get introduced to video games. I may love the Mega Drive more but I couldn’t overlook the amazing library of the SNES. There’s just too many quality games on the system, games that are still as relevant and playable today. Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Earthbound, F-Zero, Mario Kart… the list just goes on. What do I consider as my FAVOURITE of them all? Well that answer changes every time I’m asked this question. For now, I’m going to mention the one game that made the SNES VERY …

Ultra Street Fighter II Commemorates 30 Years of Fighting Excellence

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is one of the major releases planned for the Nintendo Switch in 2017, and it’s every bit as desirable as Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey. In fact, the resurgence of games like Street Fighter and Bomberman (in the form of Super Bomberman R) is the reason why the Switch is a true return to gaming’s humble and exciting roots. Watch the trailer of Ultra Street Fighter II, you can see clips of the launch of Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES early on, and man was that a magical thing to experience firsthand. What’s great is that we get to relive that magic once more on the Switch, and just in time for the 30th Anniversary of the Street Fighter franchise (25 years for the flagship Street Fighter II itself). Ultra Street Fighter II looks to reinvigorate the gamer of yesteryear, and unite them with the current crop of fighting fans who have been enthralled by the likes of the hugely successful Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V …

Nintendo Memories: Game Boy

Jahanzeb Khan The King of Fighters 96 One of the coolest things about portable consoles back in the day was that despite them being technologically inferior to home consoles (and significantly so), developers still challenged themselves to bring 16 bit or even 32 bit video games to the confines of the 8 bit monochrome Game Boy. More often than not these transitions weren’t always ideal, but when developers were able to the successfully bring the home console and/or arcade experience to the handheld it was one hell of an achievement. Back in the day SNK and Neo Geo were the absolute kings of 2D sprites and animation, with their arcade technology being the cutting edge of 2D graphics, so much so that systems like the PlayStation and even Saturn struggled to run the highly detailed 2D engine of Neo Geo. SNK’s The King of Fighters series was red hot, and having The King of Fighters 96 on the Game Boy should have been a disaster, but it wasn’t. The game was re-imagined and optimised for the …

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers destined for Switch

You read the headline correctly, it is indeed a new entry in the Street Fighter II series which last saw a HD remaster/remake on the Xbox 360 and PS3 as Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix back in 2008. When clips of a Street Fighter game were shown during the Nintendo Switch presentation, I assumed that the system was basically getting a port of that 2008 title. Little did I know that although it looked similar visually, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is an all new title for the Nintendo Switch (and an exclusive so far). It looks to share the same visuals and engine as the 2008 HD remaster, but as the title suggests it will add new content, in particular the “Final Challengers” that are apparently just Evil Eyu and Violent Ken (last seen in SNK vs Capcom: SVC Chaos). Who knows, maybe there’s other characters yet to be revealed. -30-

Super Bomberman Gets Revived For Nintendo Switch

Super Bomberman was a series that had not one but a total of five entries on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It had a bit of a Mega Man thing going for it with each game exploring new level themes and importantly introducing a new cast of boss battles for its single player campaign. Of course, Super Bomberman was mostly about the multiplayer, making great use of the SNES multitap device. Super Bomberman 2 was where this series peaked, and we have not heard from the series since 1997… until now. Announced as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch and commemorating 33 years of the franchise, Konami will be bringing the brand new Super Bomberman R on March 3 2017. Bomberman will always be Bomberman, but it’s not a bad game to own when you get your new system because it still stands as one of the most enjoyable multi-player offerings. Plus it has got this cool new aesthetic going for it as a well as a single player mode featuring huge bosses. -30-

Nintendo Switch January 2017 Presentation Highlights: THE GAMES!

What an incredible showing by Nintendo! What a great time to be alive! Nintendo Switch is set to launch on 3 March 2017 with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, ARMS, and 1, 2, Switch! confirmed as launch titles with more to be announced as we quickly head into the historic release. Demo events are planned worldwide so we should be able to try the system over the next couple of months. The price point is $US 299.99 and hopefully we will get a confirmed $ AU price point soon. I’m sure the stream gave you all the info you needed, so here are some quick and dirty game highlights from the stream! Splatoon 2 I honestly would have settled for an enhanced expanded release of the original Wii U Splatoon but it’s a full fledged sequel folks and it’s set for 2017! Looks great from what we can see and the added mobility and portability of the Switch system will certainly make Splatoon 2 a title we can enjoy all day every …

Nintendo Memories: Nintendo Entertainment System

As we count the weeks, days, and three months or so leading up to the launch of the Nintendo Switch, we at SnapThirty are going to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit each of Nintendo’s legendary system (except for The System That Shall Not Be Named). Starting off with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), we reminisce on our fond memories and favourite games. Jahanzeb Khan Castlevania Castlevania is best described as a video game that is far greater than the sum of its parts, and the debut title on the NES ranks comfortably with the likes of Mega Man, Contra, and Metroid as one of the leaders of 2D action platforming. Castlevania introduced a methodological combat mechanic situated in a ingeniously designed action platformer. Perhaps among the earliest horror video games, the original Castlevania had you take control of a tough as a tank Vampire Hunter by the name of Simon Belmont. Castlevania had all the right ingredients: unique personality and mechanics, sound level design, brutal and satisfying boss battles, distinguished aesthetics, and above …

Xbox 15th Anniversary: 15 Notable Japanese Xbox Games

It was nearly 15 years ago when Microsoft entered the console wars with its Xbox console, and 15 years later it currently stands in a pretty sweet position with the Xbox One console. During that time we saw the hugely successful Xbox 360 system and next year we can look forward to the Xbox Scorpio. A lot has happened in the last 15 years, but what has always remained consistent is the Xbox’s poor commercial performance in Japan. For numerous reasons the Xbox brand just doesn’t garner the same interest from Japanese gamers, and has consistently to this day remained the poorest seller in the land of the rising sun. Still, this is the 15th anniversary for all things Xbox, and these systems were graced with a range of excellent Japanese video games. Some were exclusive, some landed on the system first before any other platforms, and some in fact performed best on the Microsoft game box. In no particular order, here are 15 of the most notable Japanese games that graced Xbox systems over the …

Rare and Expensive Nintendo Gems on the Virtual Console

It’s easy to take video games for granted when they’re on shelves and easily available, but next thing you know that once $10 copy of No More Heroes in the Wii bargain bins is no more! And finding a used copy $40 or so on a random Sunday trip to the mall is considered to be a lucky day. Same goes for video games available for purchase on digital outlets, sure the price never hikes and you can download any given time, but digital games do get delisted (I had no idea that Tetris of all games had been delisted from the eShop due to licensing issues!). Right now you can find some of the rarest and most expensive Nintendo games right at your fingertips on the Virtual Console. In the past you’d have to fork out hundreds, if not close to a thousand, dollars on these games, but thanks to the eShop you can download them right now for mere pocket change. Digital distribution has its blessings for sure. If you’re not fussy about owning …

Hands-On With Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization At Madfest 2016

As an experienced yet begrudging “follower” of the long-running multimedia franchise Sword Art Online, I have never experienced anything from it more than that of it’s video game adaptations. While the series, in my humble opinion, leaves much to be desired in terms of character and story development, the game’s allow one to create their own adventure accompanied by familiar faces from the series. Knowing how popular the series and it’s offshoots still are in recent times, Bandai Namco Entertainment, as a part of their gameplay area at this year’s Madfest, featured a short demo of the upcoming Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization PlayStation 4 title. A fitting addition to the showroom floor, this game was never without a player regardless of the time of day, and that also includes myself…of course. At it’s very core; Hollow Realization isn’t too different from previous Sword Art Online video game titles which, despite what you may think, is actually more a positive than a negative. Unfortunately no story segments were present in the demo featured at the …

Hands-On With Final Fantasy XV At Madfest 2016

It has been quite a while since Square Enix gave us the opportunity to preview Final Fantasy XV, and since then the game’s release has been delayed for seemingly unknown reasons. This, to all those who have been anticipating the game ever since it’s reveal, is something they hope does not plague them for longer than it has to, but Square Enix are doing everything in their power to expose it’s audience to FF XV in whatever form they can. At the inaugural Madfest Japanese Pop Culture Festival, Square Enix’s sizeable gameplay area featured several consoles running a brand-new build of the upcoming game, albeit only playable in twenty-minute segments. I can’t say that the game has changed too much from the last time I was able to get my hands on it, but certain tweaks and changes, though minor, are very much recognizable. Perhaps the biggest change that I was able to notice was that of the altered combat system. As a whole, it’s very much the same, but there was one key striking …

Import Duty: Waku Waku 7 (SEGA Saturn)

In an era where Capcom and SNK reigned supreme with 2D fighting games, other developers wanted to have a go at creating something different, but more often than not ended up making something that was kinda like Street Fighter or kinda like The King of Fighters. Among the wealth of fighters that were gracing different platforms and consoles, there was a little game called Waku Waku 7. Back then, it was hard to take Waku Waku 7 seriously as it would be the type of game you’d try once for curiosity’s sake. I had always seen this game around, it got a little bit of exposure thanks to it being a NeoGeo powered title, and back then you couldn’t go wrong with the crisp,detailed 2D that NeoGeo could produce. At most, Waku Waku 7 was a silly looking fighter with not much to offer in terms of roster or content, but years and decades down the road I wish I hadn’t taken games like it for granted. Look at the 2D fighting landscape of 2016, …

Retrospective: Odin Sphere (PS2)

2007 was an interesting year for video games. The Xbox 360 was in its second year, the PlayStation 3 had just started its first year in the gaming market… and yet despite the hype surrounding High Definition gaming and next-gen visuals, the PlayStation 2 was still performing strongly despite its (by then) dated hardware. The interesting thing about the PS2 was that despite it launching before its immediate competition, it outlasted the clearly superior Xbox and GameCube. Not only that, it was barely phased by the presence of far superior competition in the Xbox 360 or even by its replacement in the PS3. Even as a gamer back then, and having an Xbox 360 with the likes of Blue Dragon in my hands, my PS2 was still getting plenty of usage. Instead of being placed in a closet as soon as I got my shiny new Xbox 360, I actually found myself getting more enjoyment out of a last generation system that year than I did from my new next-gen system. I wasn’t even compelled to …

Import Duty: Princess Crown (SEGA Saturn)

Vanillaware may have left their mark on the industry with Odin Sphere back in 2007, and once more with Odin Sphere Leifthrasir in 2016, but their first dance happened way back in 1997 when they were an internal studio within Atlus. Princess Crown was technically the debut game of the Atlus team that would eventually become Vanillaware and achieve great success. Princess Crown, however, was more than just their first creation as it even laid the groundwork to the Odin Sphere we all know and love. Princess Crown was released for the SEGA Saturn in Japan back in 1997 and was unfortunately not localised or released anywhere else. It would later receive a port on the PlayStation Portable in 2011 but unfortunately even that never left Japan. Still, if you were looking for a way to try the game then the region-free PSP version is probably the most accessible. Although, as a SEGA Saturn game Princess Crown was a special gem. Right from the opening moments, Princess Crown will feel very familiar to anyone who has …

Import Duty – Stranger of Sword City (Xbox One)

Stranger of Sword City is a first person dungeon crawler JRPG in similar vein to the countless other old school JRPGs that have really started to make their way out of their native country of Japan. Handheld platforms, the 3DS and Vita, have a growing library of these titles. Stranger of Sword City has made its way to Australia and all over the world as a Vita release, and for all intents and purposes most would feel like it was hand-crafted specifically as a another addition to Vita’s dungeon crawling RPG line-up. But as it turns out, Stranger of Sword City didn’t quite start out as a Vita game, let alone a game for a Japanese system, it in fact began as an Xbox 360 game of all things. Stranger of Sword City was released in limited quantities for the Xbox 360 in Japan only, which would shock most people considering Microsoft systems are commercial failures in the Land of the Rising Sun. The artwork and packaging was a thing of beauty, and I was …

Import Duty – Raiden V (Xbox One)

When the subject of the Xbox brand in Japan is discussed, the word “failure” often comes up. Looking purely at sales statistics and market share, there is no question that the Xbox has struggled in Japan since its inception. The original Xbox performed poorly, and the Xbox 360 had a few moments of triumph before hitting a permanent slump. The Xbox One in Japan is, for the lack of a better word, hopeless… utterly hopeless. Despite the commercial failures, there is still a glimmer of silver lining in form of the Japan exclusive line-up of Xbox games. Now two genres dominate Japan’s Xbox library: visual novels and SHMUPS (i.e. shoot ’em ups or scrolling 2D shooters). Now if you don’t speak or read Japanese, you’re not going to get much out of the text heavy visual novels (such as that Psycho Pass game on Xbox One) but there is literally no language barrier in a genre of games where you control a space ship and blast anything on the screen. Sounds simple enough on paper, …

Import Duty- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Blue Destiny (SEGA Saturn)

Gundam isn’t a Japanese niche, it’s huge all over the world with the same acclaim and widespread recognition as something like Dragon Ball Z. Whether it’s the anime, manga, or the huge selection of figurines and model kits that get their own dedicated section at Hobby stores, Gundam is a well-known commodity no matter where you are. That being said, fans outside Japan tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to video game adaptations. Over the past few decades, and even now, most of the good Gundam video games almost never leave Japan. We’ve seen a few games show up in local shops over the years, in particular the very undesirable Dynasty Warriors: Gundam spin-off/crossover series. Also at this point, a Dynasty Warriors re-skin is quite possibly the laziest way to make a video game, not to mention that playing as a mech in a Dynasty Warrios game doesn’t even remotely feel like controlling a mech. In fact, Luke Halliday has been trying to give away his copy of Dynasty Warrios: …

Metal Gear Online: Tactical Team Operations Impressions

It may have taken a month after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for it to launch, and it may have taken a few days to iron out all the bugs and really get rolling, but Metal Gear Online: Tactical Team Operations is now fully functional and hitch free as of yesterday. I was struggling to even get into a match when the service first launched, but now the servers are are good to go and jumping to an online match is a smooth transition. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was already the greatest game even without the online multiplayer, but now the addition of Metal Gear Online: Tactical Team Operations has made an already perfect gaming package even better. The character you take control of in Metal Gear Online is of the same appearance you design during the prologue chapter of The Phantom Pain. You’re then prompted to choose one of three character classes: Scout (sniper, long range), Enforcer (heavy arms, bombs), and Infiltrator (closed quarters, stealth). Right …

Hands On With Star Fox Zero – EB Expo 2015

“Hey Einstein!” “Do a barrel roll,” and many more wonderful earworms are sure to have burrowed into your brain at the very mention of that most spacefaring of vulpes vulpes, the one and only Fox McCloud. Heck, even I knew those quotes and I’ve never played any of the previous Star Fox titles. As such, my hands on had less to do with nostalgic resurgence, and more to do with the intention of satiating a prolonged curiosity. Blasting off mid-mission, as per the demo norm, Fox and allies are traversing a swerving canyon on their way to rescue a particular canid commander. To that effect, gameplay takes the form of a continuous push forward, with the player controlling direction, speed and the amount of lasers currently being propelled into enemy forces. Of the demo, this was the simplest part to maneuver, with the main obstacle being stationary forces pinned to cliff faces. You don’t even have to defeat them to progress, just survive. The demo’s second portion switched things up a little by placing you …

Hands On With The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes – EB Expo 2015

If you’ve ever held a controller that has the word Nintendo printed (or imprinted) somewhere upon it, then you’ve probably heard about The Legend of Zelda. As to why Zelda is the one with the legend is beyond me, given her propensity for only battling the forces of evil in the final assault. But that’s neither here nor there, this incarnation around we are here to talk about the Hero of time, the Second Hero of Time and the Third Hero of Time. That’s right it a genuine Link-stravaganza in a game that combines the items and skills you know and love, with good ol’ fashoned teamwork. Assuming the multi-coloured mantle of champion, Tri Force Heroes presents three Links who all share a common goal and, gameplay wise, a common health bar. Thus it’s in the best interest of all involved to co-operate, as you literally cannot proceed alone. At the beginning of each level, the podiums arise bearing three items, each Link then chooses one of said items, cementing their role in the upcoming adventure. …

Yo-Kai Watch Preview

It is a good time to be a Yo-Kai Watch fan. What with the English dub of the anime just days away from release at the time of posting and the game just over a month away, the Yo-Kai invasion is set to take the rest of the world by absolute storm. However it all must begin somewhere and this past weekend it began at EB Games Expo 2015. Nintendo Australia had the Yo-Kai Watch game available at Australia’s biggest gaming expo alongside the first ever look at Hasbro’s toys and merchandise based upon the series. Not only that but the world premiere of the English dub took place at the event to boot. As a huge fan of the series and seeing just how crazy Yo-Kai fever really was in Japan, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the game at the expo. When I finally got my hands on it after a mad dash to Nintendo’s booth it was like Christmas had just come early for me. We played a demo of …

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Preview

The future of Kojima Productions and Metal Gear franchise may raise a few questions among longtime fans, but there is one thing for sure: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is on track for its mega release on September 1, and Hideo Kojima is on the front lines as always. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was an interesting release that not only set the scene for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but was a fine showcase of the drastically revamped graphics engine and gameplay systems. It’s been offered for free to PlayStation Network subscribers, and it’s currently a free download to Xbox Live Gold subscribers on Xbox One. It’s certainly worthwhile to pick up and sit through Ground Zeroes if you haven’t already, as all the heat regarding its apparent short length is exaggeration, because there’s definitely a lot of content to keep you busy, and more importantly it will make the wait for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain a little easier. We had the chance to sit through the …

Hands-On With One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 At SMASH! 2015

Bandai Namco Entertainment has a fairly sizeable presence at most, if not all, good pop culture conventions, and that includes Sydney’s very own SMASH! (Sydney Manga and Anime Show). The convention plays host to an abundance of great upcoming additions to Japanese pop culture and there’s nothing more loved in Japanese pop culture than that of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece; a series that has been running since 1997 and still continues to run in the modern age of Anime and Manga. Bandai Namco Entertainment, this year, had somewhat of a smaller booth, but it was constantly filled to the brim with people wanting to get even the slightest glimpse of a couple of the publisher’s upcoming games, one of them being One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, which I was lucky enough to get a chance to experience first-hand. What’s there to say about One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 that hasn’t already been said about the first two games? Honestly…nothing, but I think I’ve come to realise that it’s not really a bad thing. The way I …

Hands-On With The Splatoon Global Testfire Demo

Having only had the Nintendo Wii U for maybe a month at this point in time, I still find myself not used to the flashing of the home button on the system’s controller. It usually wakes me up from my sleep and forces me to begrudgingly turn the system on just so I can turn it straight back off out of frustration. There has really only been two times wherein which the flashing has alerted me to something that I actually care about: The first is when Mewtwo was released as a playable character for the new Super Smash Bros., and the second time is when the Splatoon Global Testfire demo got released…that was today (the day of writing this article). I first played Splatoon at Australia’s own EB Expo a year ago and I immediately fell in love. In fact, the main reason I bought myself a Wii U was to solely play Splatoon, but as usual that quickly changed when I remembered Virtual Console titles like Earthbound and Megaman Battle Network were available. …

Hands-On With “Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae”

October, 2011 was when the original “Final Fantasy Type-0” was released on the PlayStation Portable over in Japan. That version of the highly sought-after video game was never released outside of the great country to the lamentation of all the fans who longed for the game with every fibre of their being. It’s now 2015 and that game has finally been released around the world on Sony’s next generation console the PlayStation 4. The new release of “Type-0” does differ from the original PlayStation Portable release in that it has been tweaked and changed to suit a more contemporary audience. This means better graphics, better gameplay and a better overall experience. Anyone reading this that hasn’t been keeping up with recent news would probably think that the release of this game would be the most exciting thing for “Final Fantasy” fans in the early months of 2015. If that’s what you do think, I hate to tell you but…you’re absolutely wrong. A certain special demo was provided with early purchases of the long-awaited game. This …

Hands-On with Bladestorm: Nightmare

When marching headfirst into battle, there is one immutable fact that is known by warriors of all descriptions: one soldier does not an army make. Be they tacticians behind the front lines, or troops standing shoulder to shoulder, each individual requires assistance. But let’s focus on the grand scale conflicts for now, let’s focus on war. Labelled by history as the Hundred Year War, this drawn out clash saw England and France at each others throats. Why am I mentioning this particular conflict from the past you ask? Well that is because Bladestorm: Nightmare throws us headlong into this fight, already well into its excessive time span. In lieu of controlling any particular figure from either England or France, we are given nought but the title of Mercenary and a character creation menu. Thus we enter the fray as our possibly anachronistic, impossibly cool fighter. As they so often are, a tutorial is found at the beginning of this game, explaining the basics of how Bladestorm’s combat mechanic works. Rather than controlling you character singularly, …

Hands-On With Toukiden: Kiwami

What is it that truly separates the monsters from those who hunt them? Some may say it is the power of humanity that only beings such as us humans posses. Others would say it lies in the level of restraint one has for ones enemy. An even smaller amount would say that if it looks like a monster than it’s probably a monster. Regardless, there are always heroes and there are always certain malevolent beings that need to be defeated. In “Toukiden: Kiwami” it is an army of Oni that push the valiant heroes to their absolute limits but you’ve got to think; if not for the ferocious beasts would there be no heroes? Thanks to Mindscape Australia and Tecmo Koei games we at SnapThirty were given the chance to preview the upcoming PlayStation 4 remake “Toukiden: Kiwami”, originally released on the PlayStation Vita as “Toukiden: The Age Of Demons”. Telling the same tale told in “The Age Of Demons”, “Kiwami” follows a small village located in an undisclosed and ancient region of Japan that has been …

Quick Thoughts on Nintendo Anime Channel

So the other day Frank drugged and dragged me into the game store just to buy Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate in what was a re-enactment of Weekend at Bernie’s. I woke up with a copy of Monster Hunter in my hand and the 3DS already turned on, so I decided to just go ahead and play, and not question why Frank’s purple fedora was resting on my bed. But before I could get into Monster Hunter, my 3DS surprised me with a download it had done without my permission, it was none other than the Nintendo Anime Channel that I learned about at Nintendo Direct not long ago. This app is completely free, and in fact your 3DS will simply insist you own it. The 3DS YouTube app may have been useless, but the Nintendo Anime Channel proves to be otherwise. The Nintendo Anime Channel is a simplified streaming service that allows you to enjoy anime on the go, and the content here is Nintendo’s own home-grown anime product. At this point there are eight …

Hands-On with Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires

For the past 18 or so years (allowing for development cycles), Dynasty Warriors has allowed those of the present to step into the shoes of those from the past. Not just anybody from the past mind you, I’m talking about historical figures, combatants in an ongoing struggle for power, soldiers of competing kingdoms. One might even go as far as to call them Dynasty Warriors. As the addition of a subtitle would indicate, as well as it existing as a physically separate entity, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires features a variation of gameplay from the initial title. However fear not Warriors fans, for the game still retains its chaotic battle style that pits you against armies of thousands in what can only be described as a fair fight (and in flagrant defiance of all human capabilities, both historic and otherwise). It is during these moments that the character you have deigned to control can truly showcase their fighting instincts, mastery of weaponry and the overall charisma that causes so many to stand behind them in a time …

Hands-On with Dead or Alive 5: Last Round

For those of you who are going through cold lonely nights like our Frank Inglese (especially on Valentine’s Day), then fret not, come February 20 the fine gals of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round will be taking care of you (and most certainly not judge you). We recently had a chance to sit down with the final build of the title, and based on what we’ve played, fighting fans should be looking forward to the first next-gen debut of the celebrated 3D fighting franchise later this month. Now granted, this is a remaster of a game that came out some years ago on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and Last Round is in fact the third (and apparently final) expansion to Dead or Alive 5. Now until a true Dead or Alive 6 happens, this is what we’ve got for our DOA fix, but honestly Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is looking to be less of a consolation prize and more of a definitive fighting release for your Xbox One or PS4. Something …

Hands-On With “Dragon Ball: Xenoverse”

The “Dragon Ball” series of video games, in my opinion, has not been a very awe-inspiring one. Throughout the years, fans of the series were time and time again delivered new “Dragon Ball” games that, while not too terrible, were also never the best around. The last “Dragon Ball” video game I played was something like six years ago and what I was left with were nothing but feelings of disappointment. Being such a huge fan of both the Anime and manga series of the same name, not being able to enjoy what I believed would be fantastic video game experiences has, over the years, slowly diminished my love for “Dragon Ball” fighting games…that is, until Bandai Namco Games invitied us to their Sydney HQ to try out the demo build of their upcoming “Dragon Ball” title “Xenoverse”. The hours of I spent playing through the game changed my views on not only the future of “Dragon Ball” gaming but on the entire history of the series which, as you should know, is one hell …

Hands On With Freedom Wars – EB Expo 2014

Now if you’ve been paying attention to this particular title, you’d know that it has already seen its release in Japan. But, as is the norm for Japanese games, we here in the West have had to wait for Freedom Wars to line our shelves. As such, it was a nice little treat to be able to get my hands on the game and give it a try. First things first, the game looks amazing. It really makes you wonder how the PS Vita has continued to be one of the most under-appreciated consoles of this generation. The character models are clean, the enemies are detailed and the environments are expansive. You can also customize what your character, and their partner, look like, with the promise of more options as you continue through the game. It’s a cool little aesthetic touch that showed, even through the demo, that there will be a whole lot to do within the game. In the demo mission I jumped into, I was pitted against a robot that had decided, …

Hands On With Splatoon – EB Expo 2014

Nintendo, by far, had the best booth at this years EB Expo. It featured games like ‘Super Smash Bros For 3DS’, ‘Super Smash Bros. For Wii U’, ‘Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric’, ‘Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker’ and so much more that, in my opinion, really outshined the rest. The biggest game there was supposed to be the brand-new ‘Super Smash Bros.’ but, thanks to a clashing release date, people didn’t necessarily have a need to line up to play for five minutes when they could just as easily have bought their very own copy before arriving, much like what we at SnapThirty did. This did not end as negetively as you would think, people still enjoyed playing the game with each other but something that was more exciting to me is that people were paying more attention to the other games at the booth. One in particular and the one in the title of this article is ‘Splatoon’; an upcoming video game that had not been on my radar at all…until now. Luke and I …

Hands On With Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric – EB Expo 2014

Well now Sonic fans here we are, at the precipice of witnessing yet another incarnation of the Blue Blur, the mascot that has time and time again not received the attention he deserves. Granted not all past games featuring this particular Hedgehog have been well received, but he is nevertheless an icon of gaming. But what of this newest rendition? Will it serve to strengthen the franchise, or will people be left wanting? Well, from my brief interaction with the title, I will attempt to answer this from my perspective. Featuring brief snippets of gameplay, the Sonic Boom demo featured three selectable levels: two running tracks and one bossfight. How about we talk about running first, it is Sonic after all. As with the more recent games in the franchise, Sonic Boom takes the 3D, over the shoulder perspective when in these levels. Sonic and his companions, who rotate depending on the level, do what one of them does best and run towards the end of the course, dodging all manner of obstacles. Jumps, walls, all …

Hands On With Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round – EB Expo 2014

After playing through a grueling mission of ‘Samurai Warriors 4’ I decided to tackle a couple of fights in the upcoming ‘Dead Or Alive 5’ upgraded re-release ‘Last Round’ at the Koei Tecmo booth at this years EB Expo. Being a huge Yokai fanboy, my obvious character choice was Nyotengu; a sexy, winged babe with some seriously deadly kicks and an air of beauty I couldn’t seem to get past. Not knowing a thing about the ‘Dead Or Alive’ series, apart from how much fanservice it happens to host, I jumped into ‘Last Round’ fairly blind which probably worked out for the better because I was actually pleasantly surprised. I played four rounds, one of which I was the victor and the other three of which I was put on my ass within the first ten seconds and stayed there until I was put out of my misery. That’s fine though because I actually had heaps of fun with it. I found the control system to be somewhat odd but I’m under the impression that …

Hands On With Bayonetta 2 – EB Expo 2014

At the Nintendo booth at EB Expo 2014, in an abutting booth curtained off from the general crowds (for reasons you will come to understand), two consoles presented to us a wacky title chock full of magic, angels, demons, sensuous dancing and hair. In other words: Welcome to Bayonetta 2. If you ever sat down and played a little game called Bayonetta, then the explanation that follow will sound funny, hopeful and all around awesome. If you haven’t had the chance to play it, well, things might sound a little weird. But stick with it, because this game is totally worth it. Thought the line for the game was not explicitly lengthy, the duration of the demo available to play certainly added to the wait. It also made the wait worth it, so no complaints there. Once I made it to the head of the queue and picked up the Gamepad (which I still maintain is way more comfortable to hold than a controller with a screen may sound) I instantly remembered that Nintendo is in need of …

Hands On with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix – EB Expo 2014

Fans of the Kingdom Hearts franchise are used to remakes and remixes at this point, some love it, some don’t. These remix releases have been the source of a great amount of affectionate response from fans but simultaneously has received a lot of criticism with some fans considering it to be stalling tactics from Square Enix. At Bandai Namco’s EB Expo 2014 booth, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix was on show and we were lucky enough to get some hands on times with this all too familiar title. The game plays the same as it once did on the PlayStation 2, with the exception of some tighter mechanics and the obvious visual updates. Obviously if you have never played the original Kingdom Hearts 2 and affiliated titles such as Birth By Sleep, you’re going to get a lot out of this title. On the other hand long time fans of the series are going to find very little on offer from this game. If you have played these games before there isn’t much new in …

Nintendo’s Amiibo, Pretty in Person – EB Expo 2014

Nintendo’s booth was bouncing at EB Expo 2014, getting by the far the biggest turn out of all the Big 3, with countless great titles on display including the hotly anticipated Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Perhaps not as highly anticipated but still of great interest was the upcoming Amiibo figures which were present at the booth and if I do say so myself looking pretty damn fine. On show was a large number of Amiibo based upon the cast of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Characters such as Villager, Donkey Kong and even fan favourite Wii Fit Trainer were present. The figures were all highly detailed with even the minutest of intricacies were captured in these brilliantly rendered replicas. We didn’t get to see how the figures would work with games but the figure quality was absolutely astonishing in and of itself. I was largely impressed by the quality of these Amiibo and found myself wanting to take some of them home as their appealing nature make them …

Hands On With Super Smash Bros. For Wii U – EB Expo 2014

Something I’m sure you all know is that the new ‘Super Smash Bros.’ video game title has been the talk of the globe for the last few months with fans of the fighter waiting in heavy anticipation for the new game to be released. Nintendo, being who they are, released a demo for the game about a week or so before the games actual release and it seemed as though it was just enough to whet peoples appetites and boost what already was a bullet train of hype. Australian gamers were delivered good news with Nintendo announcing that ‘Super Smash Bros.’ for both the 3DS and Wii U will be playable at the 2014 EB Expo which, at the time of writing this article, has just passed. This would have been so much more exciting for those waiting for the game if the 3DS version of it wasn’t coming out the Saturday of the event. Before us here at SnapThirty even reached Sydney Olympic Park to attend, we had already gotten our copies of the …