Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Nintendo Gives Mario & Co an J-Pop Make Over

Mario doesn't exactly have a lot of clothing, He dose his heroing, karting, partying, sporting, and "work" in the same clothes. Sure he has a doctor's outfit (little creepy) and a Tux. Why we rambling about this well Nintendo has a new advert for the New 3DS.

Yes that happened, The new trailer is obviously highlighting the New 3DS's customisation options. Namely the new face and back plates (we still don't have confirmation that the New XL also feature these). Nintendo hired Japanese singer and designer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (don't worry first we've heard of her too) for the advert and according to legend the designs themselves.

In other news over 50 themes will be available to download in October in Japan (other territories are unknown right now) all hitting between 60 and 100 yen (that's about 30p - 60p, though I expect that rounded up to 50p - £1). Seems Nintendo is throwing some weight behind the Monster Hunter 4 G (Ultimate) launch as it is receiving 2 themes and several faceplates.

Want a New 3DS? Well we'll have to wait till 2015, We suspect the same time as the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate launch as its the only upcoming game that will use that second analogue stick.. A LOT!.
However there is an alternative for those desperate for a New 3DS in the UK. The system will be launching in Australia in November 2014 and Australia just happens to be a PAL country.

Abe's Take
I really hope these designs make their way into something! Perhaps DLC for Smash Bros? The advert it self is wonderfully weird and Japanese, Much like Nintendo themselves.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hyrule Warrior's Sells Well In The UK

Hyrule Warriors released on the 19th and most people didn't expect the Warriors based Zelda spin off to sell. After all the Warriors series doesn't do amazingly in the west, I believe only 1 warrior game has ever broken the top ten. Until now...

But today we learn that Hyrule Warriors as hit the UK all format chart at number 3. Placing the Wii U exclusive behind Disney Infinity 2.0 on 5 formats and Destiny on 4, numbers 2 and 1 respectively.
In single format charts HW came 4th behind 3 different Destiny versions.

Which is a rather good showing, Seeing as Destiny is advertised everywhere and its reviews only just starting to surface and people have been clawing for superheroes in Infinity for a long time. This reminds me of when Wind Waker HD game out, It also placed 3rd behind Fifa and GTA V. Just goes to show Zelda sells.

Koei Tecmo also announced a season pass for the title. Featuring 4 packs with characters, costumes, stages and new adventure mode worlds. Each pack will focus on a different Zelda game, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Majora's Mask. Buying the pass nets you the Dark Link costume now.

Interesting side note: Sims 4 is the first PC game in UK chart in over 2 years.

Couldn't find a copy in store? you're not alone, seems only Argos and Online stores have any. Seems Nintendo/Stores wasn't expecting a rush. Currently Amazon has stock.

Abe's Take
I do find it interesting that the Wii U's exclusives do tend to chart well in the all formats charts as it often has to compete against games selling on multiple systems. It seems Koei Tecmo's desire to bring Zelda fans into the Warriors games could work, it's a shame both Samurai Warrior's 4 and Orochi Warriors' 3 Ultimate are skipping their new fans.

Chart info taken from HERE

Monday, 15 September 2014

Destiny Sales Splits

Well it seems Sony might not be totally happy with the exclusive advertising rights they paid for Destiny. I would be too if I spent an tone of money and got seemingly nothing out of it. Well at UK retail.

UPDATE: We got the full breakdown now 46% PS4, 36% X1, 14% 360 and 4% PS3.

Yes seems despite the sales lead and Destiny ONLY being advertisements for the PS4 the UK high street didn't seem to care as Destiny's sales currently 50/50 split between Xbox and PlayStation systems. Another rather surprising detail is that this "social based" shooter sold better on X1 than the X360, The 36% to 14% is odd considering a lot of 360 owners haven't upgraded to the X1 yet and the endgame content is locked to friends only. Of cause this doesn't reflect digital sales and Activsion giving away new-gen digital copies with old-gen digital copies is sure to lure people to the digital side of things.

We currently don't have a sale breakdown for Sony systems but it'll be interesting to see if that mimics the X1/360 split. we'll update if we find them.

Abe's Take
I'm sure the guys at Microsoft UK are high five-ing each other today. I think MS has done rather good job of advertising the game on their own systems, letting their players know its out for their system too. I wonder if this split follows in the US and EU. I do worry this might make Sony be more aggressive in terms of securing future content.

Smash Bro's 3DS Impressions

We here at the GK UK towers have been rather distracted by Destiny (review coming soon) but a little gem appeared in our inbox that has managed to steal a lot of time away from the MMO-like Shooter and the fact that it's a only a demo is rather impressive.

Himaru catpured this image
We among several other Club Nintendo members have received a special demo of the upcoming Smash Bro's for 3DS to celebrate the games Japanese release date. There will be a public demo in a few days but that demo like other eShop demos will have a play limit.

So what's in the demo? 5 characters; Mario, Link, MegaMan, Villager, and Pikachu. 2 game modes; Single and Local MP. 1 level with two forms; classic and final destination. What's not in the demo? a lot of characters, All but one of the match types, Trophies and alternative costumes. It's a reasonable demo content wise. Most fighting games only give you 2 characters, 1 level and that's it. All the game's features are there. Items, Final Smash and sudden deaths are all present.

I'm sure by now you've seen the 3DS versions pseudo-cell shaded art style, The black lines do help with keeping track of you character and stops then blending in with the back ground. This is a blessing as Smash's frantic gameplay isn't a natural fit for the 3DS small screen. However it wasn't that much of an issue when I was using my regular 3DS and the larger XL model with have even less of an issue.
Overall the game looks mighty fine on the 3DS, the character models look fantastic and the level match that quality.

The game runs perfectly on the 3DS, Animations are perfectly smooth even with the 3D on, Constantly running at 60 FPS. Whilst secondary characters (Pokemon/assist trophies) run only at 30FPS but frankly, if they are on the screen you have other issues than it's not as smooth as you, So you wont notice it.

The core gameplay remains largely the same all though everything has receive a rebalancing. The games speed is faster than Brawl's "thoughtful" speed but slower than Melee's "twitchy" speed which seems to give the game a "best of both worlds" feel. It's slow enough for you to counter attacks but fast enough for you to exploit openings. The new item's work as advertised Mario Kart's dreaded Blue Shell makes it's Smash d├ębut and works how you would expect. One weapon that caught me completely off guard was the beetle from Skyward Sword. This (trolling) weapon grabs your opponent and calmly lifts them off the screen killing them.

A fantastic taste of what's to come,
Has completely crushed my fears of it being 2nd rate.
The demo also raises questions like what dose connecting to the Wii U version do?
Images from Japan suggest that the 3DS version can be used as a controller for the Wii U version.

I'm congindent with the demo to say... 
Smash Bro's can be preorded for 3ds HERE for £31.85 and for Wii U HERE for £39.85

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

RUMOUR: Microsoft Want's Minecraft

In what could be the mostly poor timed move in the history of video game buyouts. A fresh multi sourced rumour has emerged.
UPDATE: Majong is now an member of the Microsoft family. Notch and his fellow co-founders will leave as soon as everything is sorted, they'll each be leaving with a cut of the £2.5 billion, notch owning more walks away with something like 1.7 billion.

Do Minecraft fans have to worry? Not at all though Notch created Minecraft he handed ddevelopmentover to "Jens" in 2011 and has made Minecraft what it is today. PC users will still be able to mod, record and generally carry on doing what has made the game legend. Minecon will also continue for the foreseeable future.

Do PlayStation, Android and iOS fans have to worry? nope Microsoft and Mojang, will continue to support these devices "and more". whilst this might cause joy in Nintendo fans it's likely they are referring to windows phone and Surface tablets.

The only concerning thing is that their other non Minecraft projects are now uncertain. When asked why and about his future Notch had this to say "it's not about the money, It's about my sanity" He never set out to create this phenomenon or run a multinational company "I'm just a computer geek, who likes to post his opinions on twitter" the designer said "if any of my future projects start gaining traction, I'll probably just end it".

Notch has been increasingly uncomfortable about the pressure of being the "Minecraft guy" and today's news confirms he has been looking for an out and felt Microsoft was the best choice to keep Minecraft going as is. It's expected Microsoft will make it's money back by June 2015 thanks to sales of the game, merchandise, contracts with Sony and the Minecraft empire in general.

Orginal Story:
Until confirmed this is firmly a rumour. right we got that straight? good.

According to multiple sources Microsoft is preparing to buy Minecraft developer Mojang for a rather cool $2 BILLION, this would include Minecraft and all other games in development. The rumour says Markus "Notch" Petterson would stay on to handle the transfer to MS and then leave for new pastures. Notch leaving has been on the cards for sometime, whilst he hasn't said it himself but ever since he passed Minecraft over to his 2nd he has been taking steps away from Mojang. Cancelling his games working only on tech demo's suddenly cancelling deals with other companies. Notch has always maintained that they haven't been "in it for the money and only do what make's sense for our games" and whilst a sale to Microsoft might seem against that he has been rather open with his friendship with now Xbox head Phil Spenser and how he has enjoyed working with Microsoft (outside his issue with the Tablet version of Windows 8) so it wouldn't be completely unfounded,

But what about the recent launch of Minecraft on PS4? what would happen to that? it's unknown if they'd loose support and for the first time in Minecraft history a version of the game would be "finished" or MS would have to honour current contracts. However an insider is claiming Microsoft sees Minecraft as an "product" and not a game, Likening it to MS Office that runs on competing systems, So exclusivity might not even happen.

Abe's Take
Fans shouldn't worry as I doubt if this happens the PC version would change in anyway. Notch leaving the company isn;t an issue as stated above hasn't had much to do with it for the last few years. Microsoft isn't really known now for ruining devs they've bought. They tend to lock them into a theme but not much more. PS Minecraft fans on the other hand have something to worry about. As we saw when Amazon bought Double Helix developer of Stryder and Killer Instinct (reboot) the game's publishers (Capcom and Microsoft) had to replace the teams.

Watch_Dogs Wii U Dated

News that we surely brighten our newest member and a selection on Wii U owners. The twice delayed Wii U version has finally be given a release date.

Early thie morning Ubisoft Mexico annouced the game would be hitting Latin American shelves in November, Now Ubisoft have officaly given the EU release date of November 16th, which just happens to be the same time as both Assassins Creed: Rouge, and Unity. With both AC games missing the Wii U this was the date was expected, and as it stands this will be Ubisoft's last "mature" title for the system.

No other details was given about the Wii U version, it's unknown if it'll appear as a bundle with all the DLC or if it will get any DLC at all. All we know abouyt this version is the gamepad will feature a "interactive map" which seeing as the Wii U 6 month delay was to "enhance the game for the gamepad" seems a little... light.

Abe's Take
I predicted this would arrive alongside the Assassins Creeds which makes sense to Ubisoft but mid November is rather full for Wii U (and gaming in general). It's up against several big sellers for Nintendo's system including Sonic, Skylanders, and Lego Batman 3, but also is the expected release date for Smash Bro's for Wii U. If the game doesn't come with at least all the story DLC then Ubi has clearly sent it out to die so they can point to it and go "see that's why X game isn't coming to Wii U"

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Humble Store Sale & FREE GAME

We are big fans of the Humble Bundle here, We great great games at great prices and charity gets an awful lot of money. When they announced their Humble Store it was a great way for PC gamers to get the games they wanted, at a discount and support charities all at the same time.

And so now begins "Humble Stores' End of Summer Sale" where many titles are 40% or more off. That's not all as there are also "dollar deals", Flash Sales and a free game every Monday. Because this is a US site it means that its Tuesday here but still Monday there for the next 8 hours. So get over there and grab today's free game. Warlock: Master of the Arcane an 4X (Civ) fantasy game.

So that's a free game every Monday, Daily deals, And saving across the board. So head on over to the Humble Store. Grab the free game and have a look at their stock. Also check out their Humble Bundles.  They have an Indie and Star Trek comic flavours

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Miiverse Artist's Epic Williams Tribute

It's been nearly a month since the legendary Robin Williams died and the world continues to morn his loss even as other legends join him; Richard Attenborough and (most recently) Joan Colins. Williams loss has hit gamers that hardest, Most gamers grew up with his films but he was also one of us. Williams was a big World of Warcraft fan and they will be bringing in an genie tribute to him in their next expansion. But his very favourite was The Legend of Zelda so much so he name his daughter after the princess, Nintendo is looking at doing their own tribute but Gamers have yet to make theirs. 

The above image was drawn by Miiverse Artist "Craig" using the Art Academy Sketch Pad app, It took him 13 days to complete this rather magnificent piece of true art. This labour of love is so detailed it's hard to believe it was done on the gamepad alone. Craig also added the legendary Hook quote "to live... to live will be an awfully big adventure." Since his death there has been thousands of tributes and many of the clever or simply charming and is a testament to the man of joy.

Abe's Take
We didn't report on William's death because I simply couldn't bring myself to do so, This man was a corner stone of my childhood along with the medium we all shared with the man. I know this loss was felt by many. In my house hold we celebrated his life's work and watched our favourite Robin William's films and we felt the joy the man gave us again. I had originally planned on ending this with the "genie you're free" scene from Aladdin but he wouldn't want the joy to end so instead I though this would be more fitting.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Amiibo Explodes Onto Amazon UK

We finally have UK pricing for the Amiibo range as well as which figures are included in Smash Bro's Series 1. What we wasn't expecting is how well they are all ready doing on Amazon UK.

UPDATE: Getting reports the Amazon Canada have had a similar invasion.

UPDATE 2: Seems to be everywhere Amazon EU and US also reflect this.

It's only been 1 day and all ready the Amiibo's have exploded on Amazon UK's best-sellers chart. The sample here was taken from their movers and shakers list which shows what products have moved in the chart over the last week. This the top 9 from the all formats movers and shakers. Link is currently doing the best having reached the ranking of 32, followed by Samus at 51 and Mario at 57.

Which is rather impressive seeing as they are (currently) Wii U exclusive and only (currently) work on Super Smash Bro's, and again this is the all formats Hardware/Software/Accessories chart, Who knows what's going to happen as we run up to Christmas and the games rumoured November release .

Now on to the details. Each figure has been given a RRP of £10.99 which is cheaper than we was expecting (the American price is $12.99 and usually they just stitch the $ for £) and cheaper than Skylanders Swapforce figures at £15.
The Series 1 characters are Mario, Link, Peach, Samus, Fox, Pikachu, Kirby, Yoshi, DK, Marth, Wii Fit Trainer and Villager. There are all ready shortages appearing for some characters like Marth as they apparently come in smaller amounts. The 2nd series is expect (though unconfirmed) to land in December.

So it would probably best pre order here, to secure your favourite.

Abe's Take
I am presently surprised by the price as i was expecting them to end up rivalling Disney Infinity's £15 pound price tag. I am slightly upset about the staggered launch but this dose allow me to buy my favourites in each group instead of having to make difficult choices right away... "for my daughter"

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Here Comes A New Challenger... Well A Team Member

As we hurtle towards Christmas and the impending tidal wave of Autumn/Winter releases. Things tend to shift from news, as everyone gets dives deep into their new games and various winter festivals, and towards reviews and features.

Today we are pleased to announce J. Maxey will be joining our little team and will produce various reviews and features. The first of his "Hourglass" reviews is live now viewable HERE and over at our reviews page. These reviews will look at some gems, classics and failures from gaming history. Warning; lets just say a little... "honest" and some games may not survive the process.

Maxey: Thank you for welcoming me to the blog I feel very humble to be accepted as a part of its staff. I would like to thank Abe and Tanasha for trusting me with an inch of space along with my shibunken goldfish, and stresssball zebra for allowing me the patients necessary to review.

On the move towards halloween, I will be running over a selection of new and older games holding a spooky or darker aestethic under the title "hourglass" these reviews may vary in quality as undeniably will the games themselves...additional notes thrown in here and there to prevent the average Divekick champion in the back falling asleep.

Abe's Take
It's great to get fresh blood on the team and I am sure Maxey has a lot of retro reviews and look backs planned. This should help us fill up the reviews page

Minecraft X1 Release Date Confirmed

Boy it has been a hell of a wait, after being announced at last years E3 most assumed we'll have Minecraft on Xbox One by Christmas... we did not. IT's been over a year but we finally have a release for the crafting phenomenon on Microsoft most recent shiny box.

Friday, Yes THIS Friday. That's the 5th September and we as such we now have extra information. First up is the price £15.99 for new players but if you own (or have played the original version whilst connected to Xbox Live) you can upgrade to the Next Gen version for a teeny tiny £3.99, which is rather a good deal (which only applies to the first year of the new games release.). Further good news for repeated customers ALL DLC packs will transfer from 360 to X1 so feel free to buy that Dr Who skin pack or that Skyrim mash-up pack you've been hesitantly hovering over. Retail version will hit around Christmas

The game worlds will be 36 times larger which is great for people like us who enjoyed the PC version but played console version in splitscreen with friends and family, but felt trapped be the small worlds. Existing players will be able to load up the 360 version and upload their worlds to the cloud and then upgrade them for X1 for free. so you'll have a base of operations set up. Custom servers and expanded multiplayer are coming post launch along side the regular updates the game receives.

Abe's Take
Fun Fact: This game has been so anticipated here in the GKUK towers the X1 has been welded to the main TV (and not the gaming ones) since launch because of my partners desire to play this.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Zombie NEWS!

Now (sadly?) this isn't news of actual, factual zombies attacking the popular people from secondary (high) school or a virus spreading though the world. This is three news stories that skipped us by.

State of Decay coming to X1.
The title says it all really. The wildly successful (2nd best seeling game on Xbox live) and freshest zombie game (no DEAD in the title for a start) will be coming to the Xbox One
The upgraded port will feature both DLCs but with features and characters transferring back from Lifeline (DLC 2) to Breakdown (DLC1) and then to the core game. The team also plan on adding fresh content to the game, though the team was eager to point out this will be more missions and characters for the "system" (SoD's random world events), and not full DLC type things. The team all ready has the 360 version running on the X1 but aren't happy with just porting it and as such are reworking the art assets and animations to bring it more in line with Next Gen gaming (again devs are eager to point out it wont be a true next gen game). Here is a wildly loose trailer for it.

Resident Evil REmake RErelease gets trailer.
The 1080p HD upgrade to the Gamecube remake (known to fans a REmake) is set for early 2015 and looks... well a lot like the game GC game. They have done work to the character textures, brought in a new lighting engine and seemed to of hired cleaners to give the mansion a good polish. Gameplay will be unchanged from the GC version too, however there will be a "modern" control method. Fans of Resident Evil Revelations (news for you shortly) don't get excited as this control method is only the movement being in relation to the character not the screen. Check out the trailer and a comparison screen shot below

Resident Evil Revelations 2 formally announced.
The wildly successful 3DS (and mildly successful HD port) game that merged classic Resident Evil pacing and setting, with gameplay from the recent titles rather well. The game was leaked via 360 box are a few weeks ago but with no details. Now we have an announce trailer, vague details (Chris and Jill will not return) and platform details its coming to PC, 360/X1 and PS3/4.  Yes for some reason this is skipping 3DS and Wii U despite sales of the 3DS original out sold the others combined and the Wii U version did "well".

Abe's Take
I have a whole range of feelings on these. State of Decay was a gem. Zombies being more an environmental threat and survival being the main goal, made the game feel exceptionally fresh. Permadeath made exploration an risk but ever dwindling supplies made it necessary.

The RErelease on the other hand doesn't look good enough for a game that's jumped from the GC era to now. The extra polish highlights how rough the game's classic animations are. It will be interesting to see what reviews make of its combat as modern survival horror games (ZombiU, Dead Space and Silent Hill) are punished for "unreliable" combat. Personally i think combat should be unreliable in a horror games as it strips us of our years of skill and makes us vulnerable again.

As for RE:R2 I was excited when it sounded like we was getting a sequel made by the same guys but now, now I am saddened that I wont be able to play it on the two systems I own the original on. Though there are rumours that it will in fact appear on the NEW 3DS.