Finally, Nintendo‘s answer to the original game experiences in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network has arrived in the form of WiiWare. Unlike the Virtual Console titles we are used to from Nintendo on the Wii, all WiiWare titles are original games. Small developers can get to work on creating some of these smaller casual games. WiiWare titles cost between $5 and $15, and as of today, you have six to choose from. We have full descriptions of each after the break.
It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a deep appreciation for games in quirky, niche, genres, and also intelligent stories. Frankly, it is rare that I get to find both of these needs met in a single game, but Lost Odyssey manages to do it.
But wait! I thought Lost Odyssey was a Japanese-RPG and thus not really niche? Sadly (in my opinion), the gaming landscape has changed so profoundly over the years that the once thriving JRPG is now increasingly a rarity; One with high-production values, so much the more. Several early reviews would have you believe that Lost Odyssey does something fundamentally wrong simply for being true to its genre. Mercifully, you are reading this review so at the very least let me try to paint a slightly different picture of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s latest opus.
Not to rest on the laurels provided by Baulders Gate and Knights of the Old Republic, Bioware has created another instant hit: Mass Effect. Mass Effect is in many ways the spiritual successor to the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) series although it goes far beyond the capabilities and offerings of its predecessor.
Mass Effect is a third person shooter/space exploration game set in humanities future when alien discoveries have catapulted human technology ahead centuries and given our race a place among many in the galactic empire. Click through for our full thoughts on this stunning game.
When Microsoft executives call Lost Odyssey epic, they mean it. At TGS, Hironobu Sakaguchi announced that his upcoming Xbox 360-exclusive RPG will span four discs, at a game length of forty to fifty hours. In addition, the game will ship with multiple language options, so we know that the insane amount of disc space is going to good use. Gamers will be dreaming of Xbox-branded multi-disc changers when the game launches in Japan later this year, and in the rest of the world in 2008.
This year’s TGS is awash in media from loads of promising Japanese RPGs. The spiky-haired adventurers in Infinite Undiscovery (ouch at that title), The Last Remnant, and Lost Odyssey promise to take the genre to new excruciatingly emotional heights. But the most impressive of them all, the one that may even melt the heart of the most cynical hater of all things spiky and stat-laden, is Level 5’s White Knight Story. Level 5 is the development studio behind Dragon Quest VIII and Rogue Galaxy, so you just know this game will deliver the goods when it comes exclusively to the PS3 next year.
And now we have this video. It isn’t direct feed, runs about 4 minutes long, and Obi-Wan Kenobi blocks the screen for part of it, but trust me…the whole thing is worth the watch. The animation is so fluid and seamless that the game’s battles come across as balletic performances, not turgid turn-based fights. And check out the awe-inspiring transformation near the end of the footage. You’ll be nodding your head wondering what the fuss is, and then the White Knight will appear and you’ll smile and say, “Okay, that was pretty cool.” Bank on it.
Read More | GameSpot
Forgive yourself if you mistake the opening of Bioware‘s upcoming Xbox 360 RPG for an early peek at Ridley Scott’s interstellar follow-up to Blade Runner. From the woozy synth-phonic score, to the pre-credit crawl that leads into the main title reveal, to the camera movements that just feel so right, Mass Effect oozes pure cinematic goodness. Those of you who don’t want to know anything about the game before playing it should stay away from the above video. For everyone else, however, this is a must-see, if for no other reason than it provides us with our first glance at a created character who doesn’t look like the bald space marine Bioware has used to promote the game so far.
Mass Effect is sure to be one of this year’s biggest games when it hits the Xbox 360 on November 20th.
Read More | Bioware
The long wait for Mass Effect is about to come to an end. Microsoft has announced that Bioware‘s highly anticipated sci-fi RPG will release on November 20th in North America, exclusively for the Xbox 360. The game, which incorporates GRAW-style action with role-playing elements familiar to anyone who played Knights of the Old Republic, has been one of the 360’s most-wanted games since the day it was unveiled. Until now, it had been pegged with the precarious and open-to-delay release time frame of “November.” So the news that the game will officially be here in just a few short months is definite cause for celebration.
Read More | Microsoft's Gamerscore blog
What’s this now? A third-party Wii game that (a) isn’t a lazy PS2 port and (b) actually looks pretty cool? Yes, it looks like Zach and Wiki will have some company on the Wii in the near future. Backbone, the developers of Death Jr. for the PSP, are cooking up a brand new IP exclusively for Nintendo’s Wii. Monster Lab is a story-driven Action RPG that’s all about customization. Indeed, the object of the game is to build, enhance, and accesorize monsters to fight against each other in turn-based combat. The Wii’s motion control comes into play in the creation process through minigames, where players will throw brains into empty heads, hoping to maximize their monster’s power. On hand to make sure that it all doesn’t devolve into complete minigame aimlessness is comic book writer Adam Beechen, who is scripting the game.
The very promising Monster Lab will be published by Eidos and is being groomed for a Summer 2008 release.
Read More | NeoGAF
This week on XBox Live Arcade comes the anticipated and graphically enhanced arcade cult classic Super Street Fighter Puzzle HD Remix. In addition to upping the graphical fidelity on the game, Capcom has also rebalanced the game with the new X’ mode, although the original version will also be available. The game will cost 800 Microsoft Points.
On Wii‘s Virtual Console this week seems to be sequel week, with the Contra sequel Super C (previously available on XBox Live Arcade) for 500 Wii Points, the SNES role-playing classic Breath of Fire II for 800 Wii Points and the Sega Genesis version of Ghouls n’ Ghosts, the follow-up to Ghosts n’ Goblins for another 800 Wii Points.
The New York Times has a story about a group of researchers who examined the outbreak of the in-game disease ‘corrupted blood,’ originally designed to affect only high-level World of Warcraft characters, for clues about what the social response might be to an actual pandemic. The game provided the authors of a research paper set to be published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal a unique set of conditions for this research that had typically been difficult to simulate: A wide population, an emotional response (because WoW players get really attached to their characters) and the ability to disseminate information among the population.
The corrupted blood outbreak was a glitch in WoW that took place in September 2005 and provided a unique look at the responses both by the population and the “bug:”
As the virus spread, very real challenges emerged, such as the failure of quarantine measures, further transmission by character’s pets and the existence of “immune” characters, who act as carriers, passing the virus to others while failing to succumb to symptoms.
It’s a fascinating use of the social construct that WoW has become.
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