Headline Of The Week
A new model of the Nintendo 3DS & 3DS XL has been revealed in a Japanese exclusive Nintendo Direct broadcast this week. Dubbed as the ‘New 3DS’ and ‘New 3DS XL’ (lengthening Nintendo’s fascination with calling slight tweaks to existing products as ‘new’), the updated models will feature a directional nub inspired by the C-stick of Gamecube controllers, trigger buttons, NFC support for Amiibo figurines and improved 3D functionality, as well as a faster CPU that will be required to play some more demanding games – including a newly announced port of the highly rated Wii title Xenoblade Chronicles.
The new 3DS will debut first in Japan on October 11th for a as of yet revealed price (with the XL version available in Metallic Blue or Black), but Europe will not receive the models until at least 2015. In the same Direct broadcast, Nintendo also revealed that Bayonetta 2 will finally launch in the United States on October 24th (with a Wii U version of the original included with retail copies).
In Other News
Sticking with Nintendo for a moment, this week has also seen a number of developments with regards to the reveal of the final places on the Super Smash Bros for Wii U & 3DS roster. On Monday, a series of leaked images and gameplay suggested that not only would the likes of Wario, R.O.B, Mr Game & Watch, Ganondorf and Dr. Mario be returning from previous games, but also that three new characters were being added including Bowser Jr. (complete with clown car), the Dog from Duck Hunt and Shulk from Xenoblades Chronicles.
The leaked images became all the more likely when Shulk was officially revealed as a newcomer during the aforementioned Direct presentation. Personally I’m hyped now for ‘Duck Hunt Dog’ to become my new main fighter…
After weeks of speculation that Google’s $1 billion deal to acquire game streaming website Twitch was a done deal, it was in fact Amazon who came in at the last minute to seal the deal…albeit for the same price.
After talks with Google broke down, the online retailer agreed to purchase all of Twitch’s remaining shares for $970 million in cash with the acquisition expected to be finalized by the end of this year. This is not the first indication that Amazon wants to snag a slice of the gaming market – they have previously bought the development studio Double Helix Games and released the $99 Fire TV micro-console earlier this year. In a prepared statement the CEO of Twitch, Emmett Shear, had the following to say:
“Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming…being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”
A next gen port of Saints Row IV is coming in January 2015, after being announced by developers Volition Inc. at PAX. The PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game will be handled by High Voltage Studios, and will include all previous DLC for $29.99. The news comes alongside a new expansion pack, Saints Row IV: Gat Out Of Hell, which in typically ludicrous Saints Row fashion will let players go to Hell and fight Satan himself as Johnny Gat. Sounds like it could be fun.
Saints Row IV joins an increasing list of games which have been ported across to next-gen platforms this year including Tomb Raider, The Last Of Us and upcoming releases such as Sleeping Dogs and Grand Theft Auto V.
Ubisoft have announced a delay to both Assassins Creed: Unity and Assassins Creed: Rogue in Europe. Whereas Unity had been set to launch worldwide on October 28th, it has been pushed back to November 11th; Rogue has shuffled along to November 13th. With Far Cry 4 coming just a week later, an already packed November release schedule for gamers just got a bit tighter still.
The next batch of games which will be coming to PS Plus and ‘Games With Gold’ services respectively in September have been unveiled.
Anyone with an Xbox Live Gold account will be able to download Super Time Force on Xbox One in addition to Crimson Dragoon (which is staying on the service for another month), while 360 owners can pick up co-op heist title Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine up until September 15th when it will be replaced by (arguably) the last great Halo game, Halo: Reach. Over on PS Plus, the six games being added to the service are Velocity 2X, Sportsfriends, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, Hoard, Joe Danger & TxK – making it a good month for anyone with a Vita as several of those titles include Cross-Buy functionality.
It’s been a case of sympathy for the devil this week on the UK Game Sales Charts, as Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition debuted at the top of the pile. The Last Of Us Remastered drops to second after three weeks at Number One, while the release of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare on PS3 and PS4 helped push it up to third. Tales Of Xillia 2 was the other new debut in the top 10, which for the first time in eleven months doesn’t feature FIFA 14!
Top Ten For Week Ending 23rd August 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition (Blizzard Entertainment)
2 – The Last Of Us: Remastered (Naughty Dog)
3 – Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (Popcap Games)
4 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)
5 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)
6 – Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal)
7 – Minecraft: PS3 Edition (4J Studios)
8 – The Lego Movie Videogame (Traveller’s Tales)
9 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)
10 – Tales Of Xillia 2 (Namco Bandai)
As franchises go, Pokemon is quite easily one of the most famous and successful names in the business; managing to keep millions of people hooked to their Game Boy/Game Boy Advance/DS/3DS screens for just short of two decades as they watch fantastical monsters beat the crap out of each other…or at least that is what we have brought ourselves to believe is happening.
You see, for all of the many ways that you can defeat an opponent with hundreds of different moves, ultimately once you’ve selected your command the sprites on screen will do some preset animation and the damage will be worked out behind a wall of numbers – you never actually observe the monsters getting in each others face. And while the excellent Pokemon Stadium titles from the N64 era managed to simulate fights in three dimensions, it still lacks a certain punch – could Pokemon work as a straight up fighter? We’ve seen Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Charizard et al have a scrap with other Nintendo characters in Super Smash Bros; but what about a straight up exclusive beat-em-up?
Turns out that Namco Bandai are way ahead of me on this issue, as they have unveiled a new arcade game called Pokken Tournament. The 3D fighting game is being overlooked by Tekken head honcho Katsuhiro Harada, and will be launched in Japan in 2015. While details on a console release or indeed whether the game will end in Europe at all are AWOL, there is a teaser video to tide you over, showing Lucario and Machamp dishing out the pain near a farm somewhere – the latter seeming to have taken inspiration from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure with a flurry of ‘ORAORAORAORA’ punches at one point. Check it out via the link below.