3DS Catch-all

Is it bad that I sort of like Skylanders on the 3DS? A copy came for free with my XL when my wife bought it for me, so I figured I'd give it a try. So far there's a decent variety of mission types, and the platforming feels really solid.

I've been curious about Skylanders for a while, but don't want to get it in case I'm tempted to buy action figures. Word is that the game is actually really good.

ccesarano wrote:
I've been curious about Skylanders for a while, but don't want to get it in case I'm tempted to buy action figures. Word is that the game is actually really good.

I actually looked at the figures in Best Buy a couple of days ago..... thankfully most of them were "Skylanders Giants" figs, so I didn't buy anything (because I didn't know WTH Giants was at the time....). I might be screwed.

MrAndrewJ wrote:
My wife got me The Hidden for my birthday last January, and I have fun with it! The graphics really killed all of the mood they tried to set, but it's still fun and a way to play games without being parked on my backside. I am very possibly the only person, ever, to like that game. But I do.

I just got a copy of Spirit Camera, which has similar AR gameplay to The Hidden. I'll let you know how it is!

I've been really curious about Spirit Camera. Thank you for making the offer. I'd love to know what you think.

I'm curious as well. When I demo'ed it at PAX East I felt like it had potential, but the need for a lot of light on the book that comes with it and a lot of space required to spin around just seemed to kill not only the desired mood of a horror game, but the whole goal of a portable machine being able to be played anywhere rather than in a specific location where the conditions are just right.

I'm having an absolute blast with New Super Mario Bros. 2 (currently about halfway through World 6), and so far it's more fun that 3D Land was. Why on earth is the review aggregate rank on this so much lower compared to the rest of the NSMB series?

shoptroll wrote:
I'm having an absolute blast with New Super Mario Bros. 2 (currently about halfway through World 6), and so far it's more fun that 3D Land was. Why on earth is the review aggregate rank on this so much lower compared to the rest of the NSMB series?

I just can't relate to that line of thinking Super Mario 3D Land was absolutely brilliant. I have tried all of the NSMB games besides the Wii U version, and I haven't been able to play for more than an hour before wanting to go back to Rayman Origins or Donkey Kong Country Returns for my 2D platforming fix.

It just feels like something is missing in those games, and aggregate review scores + forum discussions lead me to believe I'm not alone in that regard.

I'm with Shoptroll. In spite of misgivings at times I keep coming back to NSMB 2 and I keep ignore Super Mario 3D Land. I just think NSMB2 is more fun and more interesting.

shoptroll wrote:
I'm having an absolute blast with New Super Mario Bros. 2 (currently about halfway through World 6), and so far it's more fun that 3D Land was. Why on earth is the review aggregate rank on this so much lower compared to the rest of the NSMB series?

I really liked this game too. I wasn't a big fan of the first NSMB, but I love NSMB Wii. Haven't played 3D Land.

My appreciation for the 2D Marios has only grown over the years, and I think Nintendo has generally continued to do a great job with them. But some reviewers don't really agree? I guess not everyone loves them the same way. *shrug*

shoptroll wrote:
I'm having an absolute blast with New Super Mario Bros. 2 (currently about halfway through World 6), and so far it's more fun that 3D Land was. Why on earth is the review aggregate rank on this so much lower compared to the rest of the NSMB series?

As I remember it, the chief complaint is that New Super Mario Bros. 2 wasn't innovative enough.

I dunno. I liked Mario 3D Land more, but I think they're both excellent games.

3D Land tickles my love of "2.5D", by which I mean a game that is 3D but has a lot of 2D design elements. Metroid Prime: Other M did this a lot, but Mario 3D Land usually builds a level with an idea of where the camera is, leaving that camera static most of the time, and then playing with the same nature you might a 2D game.

It makes an easier to polish experience, or so it seems, and allows for more gameplay options. So while I liked NSMB2 a lot, 3D Land did more that I liked by simply having more options available. I'd say NSMB2 has fewer moments of frustration, though, which could easily make it a much more pleasing experience.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
As I remember it, the chief complaint is that New Super Mario Bros. 2 wasn't innovative enough.

Which just as easily could've been leveled at NSMB U too. Maybe Boost Mode adds an extra layer to the game that Demyx and I never encountered?

EDIT:

ccesarano wrote:
I'd say NSMB2 has fewer moments of frustration, though, which could easily make it a much more pleasing experience.

I recall ranting a fair bit about the camera in 3D Land, so that's probably why I'm enjoying NSMB2 more. I also think I might not have been in the right mindset for 3D Land at the time, so I'm thinking of revisiting at some point to see if my opinion changes.

I'm loving both 3d Land and NSMB2. I think they're both brilliant and fun, just two different flavors of the same frosty treat.

Yeah. I felt like the camera in 3D Land was a bit of a cheat. It allowed them to up the difficulty artificially. I think that's part of why I prefer NSMB2. It's straight up.

I looooooved what they did with the camera in 3D Land. It's what made the levels so much more interesting to me. It allowed them to take lessons from 2D Mario games (which have fixed cameras) and apply them in a way that hasn't been used in previous 3D Mario games. I think the camera is really the key to the entire game's magic.

I feel like the camera is the only thing that makes the game interesting and I think it's a gimmick. I ended up liking both Paper Mario and NSMB 2 more.

Pokemon X and Pokemon Y releasing worldwide on October 13 2013. I look forward to finally trying this series.

BNice wrote:
Pokemon X and Pokemon Y releasing worldwide on October 13 2013. I look forward to finally trying this series.

And it looks beautiful!

ClockworkHouse wrote:
I just got a copy of Spirit Camera, which has similar AR gameplay to The Hidden. I'll let you know how it is!

I finished Spirit Camera. It's a really brilliant concept that simply wasn't well-executed, for the most part. There are moments in the game that are unique and inspired, but technical issues and some questionable design decisions keep the experience from being what it could have been.

The premise is that you've come across a cursed diary and a camera obscura. By taking photos of the diary with your camera obscura, you interact with spirits who have become trapped inside it, learning about their lives, their deaths, and the history of the diary itself.

The spirit you interact with most is a girl named Maya whose past intertwines with that of the diary in Mysterious Ways™. The story is fairly rote Japanese horror. There isn't anything in there that will surprise you if you're paying attention, but it's decent enough if you're a fan of that style of horror. Being a T-rated game, you won't see Dead Space-style fountains of gore, but you likely wouldn't have seen that in this kind of storyline anyway.

I said you "interact" with the spirits, and that happens in two ways: first, by solving some puzzles related to the diary; and second, by defeating escaped spirits in an AR battle mode.

The puzzle solving aspects of the game were actually quite interesting. At various times you'll be asked to find specific pages in the diary. You photograph them using the 3DS's camera, and then the game will layer different visual effects on top of the pages. Vines will cover protected pages, spirits will rise up out of old photographs, and the pictures themselves will move and change. You're also asked to solve puzzles in some clever, more interactive ways, as when you're asked to turn the diary to shake down parts of a picture, or when you need to cover a bloody handprint with your own hand.

The biggest problem with the diary puzzles, however, is that the 3DS is really finicky about spotting the pages. They need to be lined up just right, tilted at the right angle, and well-lit, or else the camera just doesn't spot them. There were times when all my momentum ground to a halt while I tilted the diary every which way, trying to get it just so. As near as I can tell, this is a technical problem not necessarily with the 3DS itself so much as with the diary. The pages of the diary are done up as detailed collages of spooky photographs and artwork. They're really quite beautiful in a creepy way, but they lack the kind of distinct shapes and blocks of color that the 3DS needs for its AR camera.

As for the AR combat mode, the less said about it, the better. Spirits from the diary appear in the real world, and you have to look around and take pictures of them with good timing in order to defeat them. Despite making use of the 3D camera, however, the spirits don't really interact with the real world. They hover around, floating between you and anything else, moving around in such a way that's meant to make them look like they're approaching and retreating but really makes them look like they're shrinking to the size of a small dog. It's an effect that aims for illusion but actually completely breaks immersion.

The AR combat is all the more disappointing because the game itself takes a different, better approach for a single combat encounter. At a handful of points in the storyline, you're actually pulled into the diary, and your 3DS becomes a first-person window into another space. As you move the 3DS around in any direction, you look around a room inside a haunted house, and it's brilliantly immersive. Instead of spinning around, say, your living room blasting hovering ghosts, you're peering into the corners of a space that seems to exist around you but cannot be seen. If the combat encounters had taken place in that kind of space, with the player pulled into a new space rather than the spirit pulled into the player's space, then they could have had the sense of depth and presence that would have made them work. One of the game's battles is handled in just that way, and it's very effective.

The sense one is left with of the game, from the combat to the puzzles to the storyline, is of a real lack of polish and effort. There's a feeling that the developers had some very good ideas but didn't have the time, resources, or will to refine them into a cohesive whole that really worked. The diary clearly didn't work well with the 3D camera, and the augmented reality combat just didn't work, and the solutions were obvious and even, in some cases, implemented in part. It's frustrating to have a game with so much potential let most of it go to waste.

There's a moment near the end of the game that really captures what Spirit Camera could have been like. You've just taken a photograph of a page in a diary and watched as a young girl is killed by a vengeful spirit. The murder left a hole in the page where there wasn't one before, and the game tells you to lean into it. Darkness fills the screen, and when you look up again, you're seeing another place through the camera lens. You look around at the room you just saw in the diary from the outside, but now you're in it. And as you lean back, literally looking up and physically tilting the console upward, you find yourself staring into the face of the killer. It's chilling, memorable, personal.

But it's just one moment in an otherwise forgettable experience.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

There's a moment near the end of the game that really captures what Spirit Camera could have been like. You've just taken a photograph of a page in a diary and watched as a young girl is killed by a vengeful spirit. The murder left a hole in the page where there wasn't one before, and the game tells you to lean into it. Darkness fills the screen, and when you look up again, you're seeing another place through the camera lens. You look around at the room you just saw in the diary from the outside, but now you're in it. And as you lean back, literally looking up and physically tilting the console upward, you find yourself staring into the face of the killer. It's chilling, memorable, personal.

But it's just one moment in an otherwise forgettable experience.

See, I was all nodding and thinking "Yeah, guess I avoided a problematic game" up until this point. I've played bad games with shining moments before and appreciated them for those rare occasions, and that just sounds fantastic.

Still, a lot of the issues you had reminded me of issues I had at PAX East playing it, and as I said, there was a TON of light there and it still had problems. So I feel I would have been miserable more often than I would have enjoyed it.

Thank you for your time and bravery, Clockwork.

I think the "worst" of this for me is hunching over AR cards and/or the book. I love AR, just not fixed markers like that.

The Hidden, in contrast, uses the system's wifi to keep track of where you are, based on the closest wifi server. I'm tempted to post a matching review of that, which would mean working toward the ending again.

The leaked photo of the Fire Emblem 3DS looks nice.

JohnKillo wrote:
The leaked photo of the Fire Emblem 3DS looks nice.

.....link?

ccesarano wrote:
JohnKillo wrote:
The leaked photo of the Fire Emblem 3DS looks nice.

.....link?

oh

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/J9lev.jpg)

Oh damn I want that.

That is pretty, but they'd have to do a lot to get me to give up my cosmo black one.

Ooh. If only I wanted a 3DS

Tanglebones wrote:
Ooh. If only I wanted a 3DS

When you run out of games for your PSP emulator, you really should look into one.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
Ooh. If only I wanted a 3DS

When you run out of games for your PSP emulator, you really should look into one.

If only I liked Nintendo first party games..