Sunday, 25 November 2012

A number of updates

So I moved into my new place – kitted it out with electronics, bought a load of furniture and all the boring kitchen stuff (oddly this seemed to excite me). There were some issues getting the place decorated but that’s water under the bridge. Seriously shitty water. With lumps in…

I’ve got most things setup now, all essential bills such as Hydro, Internet and Cellphone are sorted - setting up everything online was painless. So far Videotron have been an excellent company for high speed Internet, and their customer service is second to none.

After several years of rocking the good old iPhone 3GS, I gave in and picked up an iPhone 5. I stuck with Virgin after having no problems with my previous short term contract. I thoroughly recommend them; good customer service even if the contracts are a little pricey (free SMS back to the UK though).

My box of stuff arrived after a month of being held in customs, so I was able to play my imported Nintendo Wii. I wrote an old school letter and explained why I believed I didn’t need to pay any customs taxes or anything – seemed to work, I even got away with not paying the customs agent. Rightly so after they dented my Fallout lunchbox…

Twilight_PrincessSo on the Nintendo Wii I’ve been slowly plugging away at The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I’m a couple of hours in and it’s most definitely Zelda, but it’s lacking the charm of the previous instalments. It’s probably the most underwhelming Zelda title I've played to date. Don't get me wrong, it's a well made title, but I didn't find myself enjoying it until I'd already clocked 20 hours when the game started to open up and allow for some player expression…

I have recently picked up an Xbox 360 slim and a Playstation 3 Super Slim. I was disappointed that I couldn’t change my account details on either system, to allow for a Canadian credit card. Luckily you’re allowed multiple logins so you can just use the UK account to download games then login and play them on a Canadian account. Of course this will probably cause some issues when my UK PS+/Xbox Live Gold accounts run out – but until then everything is fine. It’s a shame this trick isn’t available on the PS Vita – at least that isn’t region locked.

Speaking of PS+, the Starhawk single player campaign is downloadable for free, and it’s not too bad. You’ll likely blast through it in a weekend and probably encounter an abnormally high amount of bugs for an in-house Sony production, but the entry price is free and it has space cowboys…

On Xbox 360 I finished off The Walking Dead. Bloody brilliant. My personal game of the year, and a game I am likely to replay again in the new year.

10000000I briefly mentioned in my video post that I was about to play a game that goes by the awkward title of 10000000. It is excellent. Do not waste time reading my opinion. Download it.

Rayman Jungle Run is another iOS great I’ve been prodding my screen at. Though I do feel like recommending it as a Ubisoft employee might appear a little biased… but then if you don’t download it, it’s your loss.

Rayman Jungle Run:

And finally, a wee update on Watch Dogs – the project is going well. In fact we’re looking for more talent to join our team!

I’ve yet to pick up a Wii U after my pre order was cancelled, but I’m sure in the coming weeks I will cave and grab one.

Bonus mention!

My previous company, Ruffian Games contributed towards Microsoft/Sumo Digital’s latest Kinect fitness release, “Nike+ Kinect Training”. I did a wee bit of (uncredited) work on it some time ago and it looked pretty swish at the time. If fitness is your thing, give it a look.

I’m currently playing inFAMOUS, Quake and FarCry 2.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Memoria: Zelda Minish Cap

After living in a hotel for a week or two it wasn't long before I began to miss video games (there's only so much Internet one can read). So I picked up a Canadian AC adapter for my 3DS, charged it up and trawled through the many free titles that I had received for being a 3DS ambassador, i.e. 598px-ZeldaMinishCap_BoxArta mug who paid more than the device was worth before there were any good games.

The ambassador games are all pretty strong, but The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap instantly stood out to me. One of my favourite Zelda titles was also on a handheld, many moons ago. I'd not long had the pleasure of replaying Ocarina of Time on 3DS, so both the formula and platform were fresh in my mind.

The first thing that stood out as being a little unusual is the presence of the Capcom logo. Capcom had made several Zelda games prior to the release of Minish Cap; both Oracle titles on the Gameboy Color (Seasons and Ages) as well as the two Four Swords titles (Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures).Vaati In fact, Minish Cap was the third game in the Four Swords series and acted as a prequel offering the origin story of series antagonist, Vaati as well as the Four Swords themselves.

The game played similar to the 2D Zelda titles but borrowed a visual style from the GameCube title, Wind Waker (a game I unfortunately missed - here's hoping it hits WiiU Virtual Console). The title also seemingly took a great deal of its supporting cast from Ocarina of Time; Business Scrubs, Gorons, Mutoh and his carpenters, The Cucco Lady (along with a hard as nails chicken collection side quest) and a number of musical numbers from the title.

Of note from Ocarina, are the Keaton. Often mistaken for Pokemon (be it Pikachu in the form of the mask in Ocarina or the Ninetales-like creature from Majoras Mask), this time around the Keaton act as the Bully or Thief characters from previous titles, inflicting damage to both Link’s health and wallet. DarkhyrulecastleThe reason I call out these enemies in particular (and Moblins) is down to their on screen fidelity - the sprites are huge and extremely detailed in comparison to the enemies in Links Awakening, both Oracle games and even Link to the Past - this game must have looked pretty stunning back in 2004 and it still holds up now.

As always, its not all rainbows and blowjobs, some of the later bosses can be a little obtuse (in particular the manta rays in the sky) and the final boss was an exercise in fine/twitch control - not the title's strong point. My pet hate had to be the shell minigame, it was needlessly cumbersome and time consuming.

ChuchubossInterestingly the PAL release shipped with a bug that stops the player ever being able to max out their bomb bag size - not that it's important, but its a pretty big bug to ship a game with, and something that Nintendo aren't known for.

All in all it's a pretty tight game, visually appealing, nostalgic when it needs to be and doesn't take too long to finish. Its not that easy to get these days, so grab it if you see it in a bargain bin. I'm sure it'll be up for download on DSi/3DS soonish…