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February 2013

Weekly Poll: Player 2 Forever

Weekly Poll for 2-04-2013There's not as much love for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time out there as I'd hoped, but I'm glad that some of you are interested in playing the game.  I'm almost finished with it and so far have completely enjoyed the experienced.  The story is captivating, the jokes land, the action keeps me coming back for more, and the number of interesting tasks to complete holds my attention.  If you like the kind of 3D platformer that not many are developing this generation, then you owe it to yourself to check this one out.  My worst fear with this game is that it goes ignored and unsold, thereby bringing about the end of the Sly franchise.  Do your part to keep the Cooper Gang on the prowl if this is your genre.

Shifting franchises, Nintendo has gone crazy with Luigi, it seems, as the company has announced several projects featuring Mario's younger brother.  Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, and Mario Golf: World Tour are all coming to the Nintendo 3DS, while the New Super Luigi U expansion for New Super Mario Bros. U is due out later this year.  Nintendo has even gone so far as to call 2013 the Year of Luigi.  Which game from the Year of Luigi are you most anticipating?  Let's hear your thoughts.


Luigi Stars In New Super Mario Bros. U DLC

New Super Luigi UOne of the most unexpected surprises in this morning's Nintendo Direct presentation was the reveal of downloadable content for the Wii U's New Super Mario Bros. U.  Nintendo is hard at work on a new expansion that replaces every stage in the game with revised and tweaked layouts starring Player 2 himself, Luigi, in new content that the company is calling New Super Luigi U.  Here's how Nintendo explains it:

Nintendo is letting Luigi take over in new downloadable content that is coming in the Year of Luigi that provides alternate versions of the game's more than 80 stages. Players can freely change between the New Super Luigi U and New Super Mario Bros. U stages. These Luigi-focused stages provide a whole new level of game-play challenge and will be available for purchase as a single download.

The New Super Luigi U add-on will be available later this year and, frankly, shows how DLC should be done.  New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS has been criticized for offering small overpriced level packs exclusively for the Coin Rush mode, but this New Super Luigi U expansion may as well be an entirely new game (or, at least, a pseudosequel).  Here's hoping that the end result lives up to the potential.  Check out this video clip of the new content in action.


Gaming's Greatest Love Stories

UnchartedOn this Valentine's Day let us pause to reflect on gaming's greatest romances.  GamesRadar has put together a short feature pointing out seven of the medium's best love stories in which loving couples are showcased and relationships are highlighted.  Best of all, this list plays it straight.  Nobody's reading into Mario and Princess Peach's complicated relationship here!  Here's the section focusing on Uncharted's favorite power couple, Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher.

Elena is a selfless, caring individual concerned with stopping war criminals, and that inspires Drake to find those qualities in himself. By the end of the game, Nathan was far more interested in saving people--Elena included--than finding treasure. Drake ultimately becomes a better man thanks to Elena, and even though that newfound maturity can occasionally scare Drake, he always finds his way back to Elena. But we hope that, if there’s ever an Uncharted 4, he’ll stop stupidly jeopardizing their relationship in the first place.

The way their relationship has progressed, I'm worried that if and when we see Nate and Elena again, they'll be saddled with a small child they'll have to lug on their adventures.  Now there's an escort mission from hell itself!  Can you imagine jumping from cliff to cliff with an infant strapped to Nate's back?  Then there would be the inevitable plot point where the child was kidnapped by the villain, raising the stakes and invoking Now It's Personal™.  I'll pass on all of that, thanks.


Donkey Kong Country Returns Coming To 3DS

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong2010's Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo Wii was lost in the shuffle as the console's popularity began to wind down, so Nintendo is capitalizing on the 3DS's success to expand the audience for one of the best side-scrolling platformers of its generation.  The game is headed back to the market as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D with a full 3D makeover.  Nintendo feels so strongly about the 3D effects that it's releasing a special trailer on the 3DS eShop today to show off the company's handiwork.

Returns was a spectacular ride and provided an immense challenge, but the requirement that Wii games feature motion control gimmicks held the game back from its full potential.  I can't tell you how many times I wished I could have just pressed a button to attack rather than shake the Wii remote.  If Returns 3D reassigns the shaking to a button press and not something equally frustrating like a tilt command or some touchscreen madness, then I'll definitely have to double-dip and revisit the game.  It's best experienced in bite-sized portions that a handheld format encourages.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D


New Mario And Luigi Installment Coming In Summer 2013

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

The Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS hosted a vibrant and creative take on the RPG genre with the Mario and Luigi series that followed more from Super Mario RPG's lead than Paper Mario's mechanics, but the series has been absent on the 3DS.  That's changing this year as Nintendo has announced Mario and Luigi: Dream Team in which Mario ventures into Luigi's dreams.  Everyone's favorite younger brother controls the dream world environment (via the bottom 3DS screen), and the sleeping Luigi's reactions to events influence his dreams (and the action on the top 3DS screen).  Expect to see more at E3, but development must be progressing nicely.  The game is due out this summer.  I'm clearing my schedule for it already.


Introducing Super eShop World

MalloThere's not a lot of focus out there on new and existing releases for Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS eShops aside from the quick weekly summaries of new releases parroted by the major gaming news sites, but there's a new site out there hoping to change that.  I'm working with Joey Davidson and a few other bloggers on a new project called Super eShop World that aims to spread the word about interesting things related to the eShop.  Here's the mission statement:

Super eShop World is a blog dedicated to the eShop on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. We plan to cover everything that hits the digital marketplaces. Anything goes, so long as it's connected to the Nintendo eShop, the games bound for it and the characters in them.

Expect GIFs. Expect art. Expect silly videos. Expect the internet.

So far at Super eShop World you can learn about the upcoming Mutant Mudds 2, check out Bionic Commando's first level, import new Crashmo tables, look back at the Gargoyle's Quest title on the Virtual Console, marvel at some neat Legend of Zelda concept art, and much more.  It's a new site just getting off the ground, but we hope you'll check it out and join in the fun.


Amazon Offering Winter Game Sale

Buy somethin' will ya!Amazon is clearing out its warehouses of video game products once again, but this time it's not a Lightning Deal or Gold Box offering.  The company has put many popular games and accessories on sale across many consoles and handheld systems as part of a winter gaming sale initiative.  You'll find recent titles such as Assassin's Creed III, Sleeping Dogs, Battlefield 3, Hitman: Absolution, Skylanders packs, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, and The Sims 3 add-ons offered at a healthy discount in additional to headsets and specialty controllers.  I'm sure you can find something worthwhile that you'll want to buy.  Every purchase you make via the green link goes to help support Press The Buttons which is extremely important and, as always, very much appreciated.


New Arkham Adventure For Batman Due In 2013

BatmanMaking waves online today is word that Warner Bros. slyly announced a new video game starring Batman in the Arkham Asylum/City series during an investor call last week.  There are no screenshots, trailers, or even a title to share at this point, but apparently the company plans to release the game sometime in 2013 and make a lot of money in the process.  Here's Kotaku:

Said John K. Martin, Time Warner's chief financial officer:

And we also have a strong games release this year, which will include the next release in the Batman Arkham franchise. So all in all, we expect Warners to post another very strong year in 2013.

Last month, Warner registered a slew of Arkham-themed domains, among them "Arkham Universe," "arkham Legends," and "Arkham Stories."

We heard unconfirmed rumors of a Silver Age-style prequel to Arkham last July, but that's been about it on the news front for this sequel.  Sadly, it looks as if previous Arkham developer Rocksteady is not behind this title, leading me to wonder which studio is working on this one and if whomever is at the helm this time can meet the high standards set by the previous two titles in the series.  Moreover, if Rocksteady isn't creating the sequel, then what are they working on?  There are definitely more questions than answers right now, and I bet we won't hear much more of on this one until E3 later this year.  Still, the time is about right for another Batman adventure.  I'm eager to see what Warner has planned for the series and where the storyline goes from here (assuming there's actual talent working on it and Warner didn't hand the keys to Arkham to the lowest bidder).


Honor Yourself With Star Trek: Klingon

GowronHow much do you know about Klingon culture?  Star Trek's resident warriors hold honor and glory among high regard, and now you can too.  Back during the multimedia revolution of the mid-1990s, just about every popular television or movie property that had a high percentage of sci-fi fans in its base was on track to become an interactive point-and-click adventure using film clips to move the story along.  As nothing is ever truly forgotten on the Internet, AmigaOmega at YouTube has posted the main video track of 1996's Star Trek: Klingon interactive PC adventure as a single hour-long movie, so now you can study up on mastery of Klingon phrases, customs, body language, and even authentic Klingon delicacies.  Join the Leader of the Klingon High Council, Chancellor Gowron, as he guides you through Klingon culture as you team up with him for a blood oath to avenge the murder of your character's father.  It's heavy stuff (or just another day at the office if you're a true Klingon) and features a number of familiar faces from Star Trek during its Next Generation and Deep Space Nine heights.  Qapla'!

For more Star Trek PC adventures from this era, be sure to check out John deLancie's brilliant work as the omnipotent Q in Star Trek: Borg.


Nintendo Announces New Wii U Bundle

Wii UNintendo is working to move some product with the announcement of a new bundle for its slow-selling Wii U console.  The new package launches on February 17 in North America for a price of $389.99 and includes extra goodies beyond just Nintendo Land as a pack-in title.  Polygon has the details:

The Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set includes a non-standard Deluxe Set — all the contents of a typical Deluxe Set are there, including a black 32 GB Wii U and GamePad, but the included copy of Nintendo Land is a downloadable game instead of a disc title — as well as a copy of ZombiU and a Wii U Pro Controller.

A book featuring ZombiU artwork and "never-before-seen developer commentary," according to a press release from Nintendo, also comes in the bundle. And because it is a Deluxe Set, it includes access to Nintendo's Deluxe Digital Promotion, a rewards program.

That's more tempting to me than the original deluxe bundle released last year, but I'm not interested in ZombiU.  Had this bundle included New Super Mario Bros. U instead, I'd have gone all in and bought one.  I'm still patient when it comes to the Wii U, as the only game that's out there right now that I really want to play is Super Mario and my other recent gaming purchases for other hardware are keeping me busy for now.  It's difficult to resist a deal and I'd think that if you're really eager to buy a Wii U and play ZombiU, then this is a nice bundle.  I'll continue to stand by and watch for now, however, hoping that there's another package on the way with Mario in the box instead.