Donkey Kong – Childhood years relived as a teenager!

When I was younger I didn’t play many video games other than occasional times sat down chilling with my Dad. I’d generally demand one of three games around then, these being Mario, Sonic, and Donkey Kong (Obviously something about side-scrolling gaming interested me as a child!). Back then I don’t think i had much idea as to what was going on other than the general move left to right thing that goes on in all the games, so unfortunately didn’t appreciate the NES version for what it was.. This however changed as the game was released on Gameboy Colour in 2000, a year that saw me frantically mashing buttons to get all of the letters to make up KONG, and swing across vines with precise timings!

With Donkey Kong being a game I’d enjoyed in ways through various points in my life, the announcement that it was being released on the Wii filled me with some joy. The Wii game promises to bring new levels and environments to explore, along with the next gen graphics that would be expected with a Wii release. One new feature that is being brought onto the Wii release is a two player mode that will allow both DK and Diddy to be controlled at the same time, rather than the players needing to switch between the two to progress through the level. The Two player aspect is something I’m personally looking forward to as I love playing through co-op style levels with friends! It’s part of the reason I found myself falling in love with Little Big Planet so much!

The game gets release on December 3rd, and I intend to review the game around then so you can expect a full review and rating on the overall gameplay after i’ve had a bit of time bashing through the levels! My only hope right now is that it maintains some of the roots that made it so popular with me, however this is something I’m not worrying about too much thanks to the E3 footage of the game!

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Entering a New World – Pokemon Black and White first impressions

Some franchises are huge, others are not so big. One of the big ones round at the moment, mainly in Japan, is Pokemon. In Japan, Pokemon Black and White are the new huge ones. According to their records over there, they have been the most pre-ordered DS games so far, and the fastest selling. So what is all the hype about? I’ll tell you!

First thing i noticed was the new art style they are using for the opening. And it’s fantastic. They have gone from the really cartoony anime to a more serious style. And it works. Along with this, the actual graphics are much better than before. This is noticeable from the very beginning. Everything about this game just feels more refined, and it feels fresh.

Secondly, is the actual gameplay. Not a lot has changed in terms of the way movement is controlled, but there have been some major changes in the battle system and the menu has been completely overhauled. The menu is completely touch screen again, and can be controlled with the D pad, and it all feels more flashy. They have really developed the little aspects of the menu to make it that bit more awesome. And i know it’s just a menu, but it is a good one. On top of the awesome menu, the Pokedex is now awesome too. It’s much easier to get from the very top to the bottom, and easier to find the pokemon you are looking for. It’s really quite a good feature now. With all the boring stuff aside, I can get to the battle system. It’s still a turn based system where you select from four moves, items, pokemon and run. However, the main changes are what types of battles there are. Now, there are wild double battles and triple battles with trainers. Now, i’ve only been in one triple battle, and i didn’t understand what was going on as it was all in Japanese, but it’s still pretty cool. On top of all that, and this is a biggun, they have developed the 3D aspect they introduced in Diamond and Pearl to a much more extreme level. Buildings have height, width and depth, and stuff gets bigger as you get closer to it, and smaller as you move away from it. I know it’s nothing new to the DS as it’s very similar in Animal Crossing DS, but this is a nice new feature to the pokemon games, and it makes them that much more enjoyable.

Something they have decided with this game is to have a completely separate set of pokemon. This means 156 new pokemon! Now, i’m not saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they have done this, but some of the new pokemon look bad-ass. Like, there’s one that looks like a cauliflower, there’s one that looks just like Casey off chuck, hell, there’s even one that looks like a sperm with a face on it. But, again, as they only have Japanese names at the moment, I don’t know their real names, but they are all wicked cool. And with this whole new set of pokemon, they have done something they haven’t done since red and blue. They have reset everything. You can only initially see and catch these 156 pokemon, and the route numbers have all been reset too. That’s right, route 1 is back.

So far, these games are pretty epic, and even though i have no idea what is going on, the story seems more developed than before. In terms of gameplay, they have developed it in such a way that everything feels fresh and new, and that’s what i believe they were trying to achieve. It doesn’t feel like a more developed Diamond and Pearl, it feels like the start of a brand new series. As soon as they become available in a language i can understand, you can expect a far more story based and feature fact review from me. I’m giving this game a good

8.9/10

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Demo Impressions

This weekend i found myself lucky enough to play a demo of  Nintendo’s up and coming Zelda release – Skyward Sword! Since this is a game I’ve been dying to check out since it was announced at E3 earlier this year, being given the chance to play through a ten minute demo was practically a dream come true!

The way Skyward Sword utilises motion plus adds a whole new level to the Zelda games as slashes, swipes, and even stabs reflect your movements right up to the angle, and direction you move your arm. This enhanced the gaming experience as it produced varied attacks and less repetition when killing enemies! The best example of this came when fighting plants. The plants that attack you open their mouths either vertically or horizontally, and due to this the only way you can kill them is to cleanly slash in the direction their mouth opens! Whilst annoying at first (Mainly due to the embarrassment of me having wasted a minute slashing for nothing) I soon found this feature grow on me, as encountering enemies became less repetitive, and kept me engaged for my full demo!

Links bow is another weapon that can be seen using the wii’s controls in a positive way. Firing off the bow is made more interesting as you are now required to draw back your nunchuck hand in order to fire an arrow, rather than merely point at a screen and press a button like in Twilight Princess! I’m still in two minds over this feature as i see possibility of it making bow usage take much longer! I mean… i found firing whilst riding Epona hard enough before! Imagine how it’ll be now?!?! So whilst an interesting addition, i find it may also add complexity to the game where it isn’t needed.

Another good feature taking advantage of wii controls is the item selection menu, which was something i initially thought would just be awkward and annoying! The new item selection menu uses the motion tracking, so that you can select the item you wish to use from a dial swiftly, rather than having to click through multiple slots to get to a specific weapon! Another good thing about the menu was that it dint involve going through any start menus, keeping game play constant, and item switches fast and easy!

The boss stage was interesting, as it saw the usual requirement of a specific tactic in order to get past! In this case it was just a matter of attacking eyes when they were of a certain colour, and then stabbing to kill…but a challenge none the less! I found myself being caught in a pincer grip frequently and having to rapidly shake the wii controls like no tomorrow to break free! This combined with the need to actually stab the wii mote to stab his eye made it more active for me and much more enjoyable! After all, these are the controls native to the wii! So to finally see them included in one of my favourite game series of all time is amazing!

After the boss battle i ran towards a door to the next part of the game and “Thank you for playing”….. My time ran out! I was devastated, confused, a bit delerious from waiting with no food and drink for the game, but content none the less! The demo in general was exceptional and removed any doubt about changes in the game for me! Now i just need to wait for the actual release…In the mean time! Here’s a trailer from E3!