Tag Archives: Metroid

All of the amiibo announced at E3 2017

Well, Nintendo certainly went all out on the amiibo announcements at this year’s E3. Here’s a look at what delightful plastic figures we can expect over the next few months, starting off with the ones that everyone’s getting most excited about…

Metroid amiibo

Oh yeah, now we’re talking. Nintendo announced two amiibos to tie in with the release of the Metroid II remake, Metroid: Samus Returns. But the thing that’s got everyone excited is that the Metroid is SQUISHY. Yes, it doesn’t take much to get amiibo fans all hot under the collar. Both are due on 15 September 2017.

Fire Emblem amiibo

Next! Chrom and Tiki are on their way to accompany the release of Fire Emblem Warriors:

Chrom’s odd asymmetrical trouser look seems to be really prominent here – he’s a queer fish when it comes to sartorial matters. He’s gone for an odd choice of pose, too – I’m fairly sure that’s not the right way to hold a sword. For Tiki, they seem to have gone with her original look from Mystery of the Emblem rather than the updated style in Awakening and Heroes – all very 80s anime. At first I wasn’t sure about it, but the look is gradually growing on me.

For the base, they’re gone for the same style as the recently released Alm and Celica, and no doubt we’ll be seeing a whole host of other Fire Emblem amiibo in due course. Can’t wait! Neither of these has a release date, but we can expect them at the same time Fire Emblem Warriors is released in the autumn.

Zelda amiibo

I have to say, the detail on these ones is stunning. These four new Zelda amiibo – the Goron champion Daruk, the Rito champion Revali, the Zora champion Mipha and the Gerudo champion Urbosa – are being released to tie in with the second DLC pack for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. All look pretty amazing, and no doubt will be extremely hard to get hold of – especially considering that the original Breath of the Wild amiibo have sold out pretty much everywhere (I’m still trying to get hold of ‘trouser Zelda’ for a reasonable price – scalpers are charging upwards of £30-50 online).

A few people have already commented on Urbosa’s awkwardly placed support strut – it’s certainly the most X-rated amiibo we’ve seen so far. There’s no official release date for these yet, but expect them in around December, when the DLC drops.

Mario wedding amiibo

These three are to tie in with Super Mario Odyssey, in which Bowser becomes a pimp in New Donk City. Probably.

Considering what a bonkers game Odyssey is turning out to be, it’s somewhat fitting that we have some suitably weird amiibo to accompany it, with two rival grooms competing for the affection of a somewhat worried looking bride. I probably won’t get these ones myself – collecting the Fire Emblem and Zelda amiibos is enough of a strain on my wallet as it is – but I’m very glad they exist. All are due out on 27 October 2017.

More Mario amiibo

Along with the fancy wedding amiibos, these two rather more pedestrian amiibos were announced for the Super Mario range: Goomba and Koopa Troopa. Nothing too exciting to see here, but a couple to keep an eye out for if you’re planning to complete the Super Mario set. Personally, I’ve avoided the Mario set, as they all look rather plain compared to the fantastic detail on the Fire Emblem characters and Smash Bros. characters like Shulk and Ganondorf.

Although of course I had to make an exception for Toad. I mean, who doesn’t love Toad?

Bye for now!

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OH MY GOD IT’S A METROID BONANZA

I… I don’t even have the words…

First there was this little bombshell, dropped in Nintendo’s Spotlight presentation:


No release date, no gameplay footage, just a title. IT’S HAPPENING.

METROID PRIME 4 IS HAPPENING.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, this stunning news was revealed shortly after the Spotlight ended:


Yep, there’s a new 2D Metroid game on the way as well! Specifically, Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of Metroid II.
And if THAT wasn’t enough, we’re also going to be treated to these lovely amiibo:


And yes, that Metroid is squishy.

Oh happy day!

We prayed to the Nintendo gods for a Metroid game, and they gave us two. Truly, we are blessed.

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E3 2017 hopes and dreams

EA will kick off E3 2017 with their pre-show presentation tomorrow, so we thought we’d put our heads together and come up with a list of the announcements we’d like to see over the next week or so. Maybe this is finally the year of Half-Life 3

Hey, what do you mean it will never happen? If E3 has taught us anything over the years, it’s that it is a place where dreams can be made (…and promises broken).


Professor GreilMercs – E3 (in my household also known as Nintendo Christmas) is always a time for high hopes and dashed dreams, but by now I’ve learned to accept what the Nintendo gods grant us rather than get myself too dangerously hyped.

Without a doubt Nintendo is going to be showcasing Super Mario Odyssey, one of its big releases for this year. It’s a game that I’m not super excited about, not being a big fan of 3D platformers in general, but that I don’t mind finding out more about. On the realistic side, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo filled in some info about the just-announced Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon and padded their presentation with some additional info about the soon-to-be-released Splatoon 2. There are also a number of previously announced Switch games that everyone’s been waiting to hear more about, including Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the new Shin Megami Tensei game. The game that falls into this category that I would be most psyched to see a trailer for would definitely be Fire Emblem Warriors, and it seems likely since details and images from the game have already started to be included in Famitsu.

More info on Super Mario Odyssey is a dead cert for E3.

We should probably also expect to see at least some of the multiplayer-centric fluff that Nintendo has been pushing for the last few years, like the ones from 2015’s underwhelming presentation that included The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, Metroid Prime Federation Force, and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (yawn). It also wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one new line of Amiibo announced, and some more Wii U to Switch ports. The most likely of these is the much-speculated new version of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U that would include all the previously released DLC and some new characters and modes (such as the 3DS-exclusive Smash Run mode). This would be a super easy win for Nintendo, and including obvious characters like the Inklings from Splatoon and Spring Man or Ribbon Girl from ARMS would get them tons of points from fans.

We can expect a few announcements from left field, but as a longtime Nintendo fan any revivals of long-ignored series would be definite highlights for me (the announcement of Kid Icarus: Uprising in 2010 will always be a fond E3 memory for me). It would be great if this were the year we finally found out what Retro Studios (of Metroid Prime fame) has been working on since 2014, and of course a new Metroid game would always be welcomed with open arms (although fans have been waiting for a new 2D game several years longer than a new first-person Prime game). Likewise, any new entries in dormant series such as Advance Wars and WarioWare would be great to see, and I personally wouldn’t mind seeing a Switch follow-up to the Wii Fit series either.

Could this be the year that we finally see a new Advance Wars?

Oh, blast it all, I’ve gone and gotten myself overly hyped once again. Well, only a few more hours until we find out what E3 2017 has in store for us. Happy E3, and here’s hoping for a very merry Nintendo Christmas!


Baron Richenbaum Fotchenstein – My main concern is the rumors about Bloodborne 2 being announced. This seems unlikely, given that From Software has already publicly stated that they have no intention of doing a sequel to Bloodborne, but a man can dream.

Dare we hope for a Bloodborne sequel?

If that doesn’t happen though, I’d like to see whatever other new game or games that From Software is working on, more new horror games, more new Marvel games, some big new PlayStation VR titles, Death Stranding gameplay, anything at all about Cyberpunk 2077, and I hear there may be new Wolfenstein and Evil Within reveals coming too.


Lucius P. Merriweather – In some ways, my dream E3 announcement is that there will be no announcements whatsoever. I already have a healthy backlog of games, and there are dozens of titles from the past couple of years that I’d dearly love to pick up and play – so the idea of adding even more ‘must-have’ games to my purchase list sends a shudder through my wallet.

Still, I can’t deny I’m excited about another E3 – as Professor GM points out, it’s basically Christmas for gamers. One title that I’ve had my eye on for a while is Vampyr by Dontnod Entertainment, who made the wonderful Remember Me (review here) and Life is Strange. It’s set for release in November, and it’s shaping up to be something special, so I’ll be keeping my peepers out for more news on this intriguing game.

Vampyr looks very good indeed.

In terms of surprises, I’d love to hear an announcement of what the oddball Japanese developer Swery has been up to with his new company, White Owls. I loved the Twin Peaks-esque Deadly Premonition (sort-of review here) – so much so that I recently backed the board game version on Kickstarter – and Swery has already promised that his new game will be “perverted, violent and crazy”. The crazier the better, I say.

I’m also holding out hope that we’ll get some wonderful surprises from Nintendo – top of the list would be the announcement of a new, ‘proper’ Metroid game (2D or 3D, either would be fine). Anything Fire Emblem-related will also see me pricking up my ears with pleasure, and the resurrection of a few old franchises would be more than welcome. Pilotwings, Advance Wars and Wave Race are three that spring to mind. The announcement of GameCube titles on Switch – see my recent wishlist – would also have me jumping up and down with glee.

Come on, it’s about time we had more Samus in our lives.

You can file these next three under ‘highly unlikely’, but I would be whooping with delight if there were announcements of sequels to Silent Bomber, Skies of Arcadia and Lost Kingdoms. There’s some vague sense of hope for these, at least: CyberConnect2 have recently been taken off the Final Fantasy VII remake, so maybe they’ll decide to do a Silent Bomber sequel instead (OK, I admit it’s a long shot); SEGA recently said it plans to revive some old franchises, so Skies of Arcadia COULD be among them; and finally, From Software, the developers of Lost Kingdom I and II (and also some game called Dark Souls or something), is supposedly working on three unannounced games, so there’s a chance that one of them might be a Lost Kingdoms sequel.

OK, it’s a very, very slim chance, but it’s a chance nonetheless.

Oh, and Half-Life 3. I reckon this is the year. Called it.

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A wish list for Nintendo Switch

nintendoswitch_hardware-0-0

We’re only days away from the Nintendo Switch press conference, and I’m very excited to find out more about Nintendo’s next console. In an ideal world, these are the things I’d like to hear.

Battery life of at least 8 hours

The Nintendo 3DS was hobbled at launch by weak batteries – the most you could expect was about 4 hours of gaming, and turning on the 3D feature drained the batteries even quicker. Thankfully, later editions improved the battery life somewhat, but seeing as the Switch is much more powerful than the 3DS, my worry is that it will drain power like nobody’s business. If they can get it to run for around 8 hours off one charge, I’d be more than happy.

A new ‘proper’ Metroid game

Come on Nintendo, you know you want to. After Metroid Prime: Federation Force was released to the sound of a deflating balloon, Metroid fans like me are more determined than ever to play a new, ‘proper’ installment of the seemingly dormant main series. This could be a long shot though, as the Metroid games have never been huge sellers.

Metroid: Other M was the last entry in the main series, but that came out back in 2010.

Metroid: Other M was the last entry in the main series, but that came out back in 2010.

One terabyte of storage – minimum

The ‘deluxe’ version of the Wii U still only came with 32 GB of storage, and the basic edition had just 8 GB. Considering the size of modern games, this is a piddling amount – and if Nintendo want to encourage downloads from the eShop, they’d better up the hard drive size of the Switch considerably. One terabyte would be about right. But if they go down the route of using SD cards, I sincerely hope you don’t have to unscrew the back of the console to switch them, like you have to do with the New Nintendo 3DS.

Game saves on the cloud

The introduction of the Nintendo Account now at least unifies the 3DS and Wii U eShop experience, and Miiverse works the same on both consoles. But with the Switch I’d love to see all of my purchases and saves registered to the cloud, so I can easily switch consoles and don’t have to worry about losing games – which is exactly what happened when my 3DS was stolen. Not to mention the faff I had to go through to upgrade to a New Nintendo 3DS XL.

A subscription-based Virtual Console service

It seems pretty likely that we’ll be getting GameCube games on the Switch, which is great news – I’ve already picked out the games I’d most like to see. But I’d love to get more out of the Virtual Console. I’d love to play through all those old NES and SNES classics on my Switch, but buying them all individually is not only horrendously expensive, it’s also a waste. For every classic game I’ve bought and loved (Gargoyle’s Quest, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones), there’s another one I’ve bought and pretty much given up on straight away (Mega Man II, Kid Icarus). If Nintendo charged a subscription fee that allowed access to the entire library for a fixed amount each month, I’d be throwing my money at them – and I wouldn’t keep feeling burned by buying old games that disappoint.

More amiibo

Just more amiibo. I love the damn things, keep ’em coming. Preferably more Fire Emblem ones. Speaking of which, what’s happened to that Corrin one we were promised?

What happened to the Cloud, Corrin and Bayonetta amiibo?

What happened to the Cloud, Corrin and Bayonetta amiibo?

Some sort of crossbuy thing

I’ve bought quite a few indie games on the Wii U and 3DS – the ‘Nindie’ scene has been brilliant on both consoles. But I don’t particularly want to buy them all again for Switch. If games like Severed get rereleased, I’d like the option to download them for free without having to buy them again.

GPS-enabled games

Pokemon Go showed just how effectively GPS location can be used in games, and some patents suggest that the Switch will have in-built GPS. I’d love to see how Nintendo could use this in games like Animal Crossing and, well, Pokemon.

Improved Streetpass

I love Streetpass. It’s a great idea, and seeing a new Mii pop onto my console from the 3DS of a passer by is always a treat. But what if rather than simply say hi to other Switch users, your Mii could invite them to do battle? Perhaps you’d both have to accept within a minute for it to start, but before you know it, you’re playing against someone you’ve only just met in a bus queue. The one big failing of Pokemon Go was that it was too passive – huge crowds assembled, but they were all playing alone. An upgraded version of Streetpass with real-time challenges could make gaming more social.

StarFox 2

Come on Nintendo, we all know you finished the game. Why not go ahead and release it? I mean, it’s been more than two decades now…

starfox2_snes_game_box

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To brand, or not to brand? The Metroid misstep

metroid_federation_force

Metroid Prime: Federation Force has come in for a bit of a kicking from Nintendo fans, which seems to have taken the company somewhat by surprise. In hindsight, perhaps it shouldn’t have come as such a shock.

By all accounts it looks like quite a fun game – a cooperative 3DS shooter with added cosmic football for good measure. But as a Metroid game it falls somewhat short of expectations. Fans have been clamouring for a new Metroid game for years – the last entry in the series was the divisive Metroid: Other M back in 2010, and there was an expectation that a new Metroid game might arrive for the Wii U, perhaps one that took advantage of the second screen for scanning and shooting. That expectation peaked this year, which is the 30th anniversary of the Metroid series. What better time to bring out a new game, perhaps even one that could beat the high of Metroid Prime?

Well, we did (or will) get a new game in 2016 – but it’s a co-op shooter that has nothing to do with Samus Aran, and doesn’t really seem to have much in common with any of the other games in the series. Cue the sound of a deflating balloon.

To be fair, Federation Force does have a precedent of sorts. Metroid Prime Hunters was a first-person shooter for the DS with a multiplayer element, but it wasn’t amazingly well received – and it has the lowest sales for any entry in the series, bar the Metroid Prime Trilogy rerelease. So it’s probably not the best route to go down if you’re planning a new Metroid game.

MPFF-Gameplay

But as I said above, as a game in it’s own right, Federation Force looks quite fun. If it was launched as a new IP, I suspect it would have received a much warmer reception. But launching a new, untested IP is a risky business for a company – attaching the game to a brand is a much safer bet, and will probably result in much higher sales.

I mean, you only have to look at Pokémon Go to see the logic of this. The game is essentially a reskin of Ingress, a game released by Niantic in 2012 that seems to have been modestly successful, but that pales into insignificance nest to the phenomenal success of Pokémon Go. Nifty game + appropriate branding = ker-ching!

I suspect what may have happened in the case of Federation Force is that it never started out as a Metroid game. This is just a hunch, but I reckon one of the dev teams at Nintendo came up with a fun coop shooter, and at some point someone decided it needed to be attached to a brand to generate sales. Looking at Nintendo’s brands, very few of them fit with the model of a first-person shooter – many are just too ‘kiddy’ to fit with the game’s ethos. Metroid is one of the few brands that can be coaxed into becoming a coop shooter, so it’s no surprise that Federation Force ended up as a Metroid game.

But of course, it has left fans who were hoping for a ‘full-fat’ Metroid game disappointed. And many have pointed out that coop shooting is very much against the ethos of Metroid, which built its reputation on solo exploration. I mean, it even spawned its own genre – Metroidvania – and the fact that Federation Force isn’t a ‘Metroidvania’ game seems to indicate that perhaps the branding isn’t so appropriate after all. Sure, Metroid is ‘adult’ and ‘scifi’, unlike many of Nintendo’s other brands, but it’s also synonymous – literally – with Metroidvania-style exploration.

Then again, that’s not to say brands can’t be diversified. I mean, look at the insane range of games that Mario has appeared in, everything from tennis to football to art packages. There’s undoubtedly room for diversifying the Metroid brand across other genres – but in this case that comes at the expense of the Metroidvania-style game that fans have patiently been waiting more than six years for (or nine years if you want to skip Other M and go back to Metroid Prime 3, the last first-person game).

Perhaps it’s a case of right brand, wrong time. If Federation Force was released soon after an entry in the ‘main’ Metroid series, I have no doubt it would be warmly welcomed. But coming when it does, thrown out into the hot white ball of hungry Metroid fans’ pent-up frustration, it’s no wonder that people were upset – it’s the equivalent of flinging meagre crumbs from the high table.

tabane-federation-force-spot2

Will this anger hit sales? Possibly. Would the game have sold more if it had been launched as a new IP rather than a Metroid game? Probably not, but who knows? As it is, Federation Force has given Nintendo’s reputation a bit of a knock – and reputation is much harder to measure, and harder to accumulate, than games sales.

Still, I’m sure all will be forgotten and forgiven as soon as a new ‘proper’ Metroid game is announced – and I’m sure Nintendo knows that, too.

Buy Metroid Prime: Federation Force on Amazon (and we get a little bit of cash if you do).

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Metroid Cut Down In Its Prime

I just finished Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and I’m sad. I’m sad because it was brilliant and now it’s over, and, to cap it all off, this is the last game in the Metroid Prime series. Sure, I’ll probably enjoy Metroid: Other M when I eventually get round to playing it, but will it reach the heights of the Prime series? I doubt it somehow – those games are a hard act to follow, and Metroid Prime 3 is, in my humble opinion, the best Metroid game so far.

There. I said it. Yep, it’s better than Metroid Prime, better than Metroid Fusion, even better than, dare I say it, Super Metroid. In a nutshell, this game is ace.

When it came out, Metroid Prime 3 was criticised for introducing too many other characters into the mix when one of the joys of Metroid games is the feeling of isolation, the sense that you’re alone on a hostile and unexplored planet. A similar criticism was rightly levelled at the Tomb Raider games, which gradually introduced more and more unnecessary characters as the series went on, and it was only after the Anniversary remake that we realised what we’d missed: the sense of being alone against the forces of evil, exploring long-forgotten ruins for the first time.

Having read the reviews, I was a little wary of the course the designers had chosen for the third game in the Prime series, but I was pleasantly surprised. You’re thrown in with the Galactic Federation at the beginning, tasked with helping to defend a Federation planet against a rogue asteroid called a ‘Leviathan Seed’, and this part of the game helps to set up the characters that you encounter later on. After that first episode is over though, you’re pretty much left on your own for the rest of the game until the climactic finale, so the move towards introducing more characters wasn’t as disruptive as I thought: in fact, it gave the game a real boost that sets it apart from the previous games in the series.

I loved the first Metroid Prime, but I was left slightly disappointed by the second game in the series: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. It wasn’t a bad game by any means, but it felt very similar to its predecessor, with only the light world/dark world mechanic really setting it apart. Metroid Prime 3, however, feels like a whole new beast, thanks mostly to the new focus on plot and developing the world that Samus Aran inhabits. For the first time in a Metroid game, you’re given the chance to actually leave the planet you’re on and travel between several different planets in the same system, which provides some pleasing variety in scenery and a new and welcome sense of freedom. You can even use your ship to solve certain puzzles, which is a brilliant idea that sadly isn’t used enough in the game, but it shows the effort the designers have put in to making Metroid Prime 3 stand out from its predecessors.

I should also mention the controls, which are some of the best I’ve ever used. It took a few minutes to get used to aiming with the Wii remote, but after that the controls became second nature. In fact, it was like a revelation. Suddenly I was wondering why all first person shooters don’t use motion controls – it just makes sense. It even had me contemplating buying one of the Call of Duty games for the Wii, although my lukewarm reaction to Modern Warfare eventually made me decide against it.

Speaking of Call of Duty, probably the weakest segment of the game seems to be influenced by it – namely the sequence where you have to guide some demolition troopers through enemy territory. It’s a dull and frustrating segment that doesn’t really fit the atmosphere of the rest of the game, but apart from this tiny blip, the game was an absolute joy. In fact, it’s one of the few games that I can say I absolutely loved from start to finish – which is why I’m so sad it’s over.

Thanks Retro Studios, it was a blast.

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