Impressions: The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) Demo

Earlier this month, there was a Nintendo Direct released specifically for the game The Wonderful 101, which is being developed by Platinum Games and published by Nintendo exclusively for the Wii U. The Direct had a lot of information about the game, including a 7 minute “Director’s Edition Trailer” (above) and was led by the game’s outspoken director, Hideki Kamiya. After the broadcast, a demo of the game was announced and released via the Nintendo eShop in Europe, North America and Japan. Continue reading

Preview: Rayman Origins (Nintendo 3DS)

Rayman Origins has been available on home consoles since November of last year, meaning it’s taken Ubisoft’s retro Rayman revival six months to finally appear on Nintendo’s handheld – and that’s only in the form of a demo. From what we’ve played of it, however, it looks to be worth the wait.

While the demo is admittedly short, featuring just three levels from the full game, what’s on offer here really does showcase the amount of variety in the full game. The first level in the demo seems to be your average opening stage in a 2D platformer: the World 1-1 in Super Mario Bros., or the Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog. Neither too easy nor too difficult, it gives you a chance to get a feel for the controls, which aren’t too different to those seen in other traditional platformers.

After accustoming yourself to the gameplay quirks, such as mastering the wall kicks and swinging on the vines (much like in Donkey Kong Country Returns), you’ll be thrown into the second demonstration level, which sees a big change in its pacing. Losing the first level’s colourful, vibrant backdrop, much like in Donkey Kong Country Returns’  sunset stages, the second sees everything in the foreground silhouetted out, and a simple blue background. In this level, the gameplay changes from relatively slow-paced exploration, to chasing after an enemy on an auto-scrolling plane, where you’re required to avoid obstacles, time your jumps, and grab onto the swinging vines with pinpoint precision, with one slip up – much like in Bit.Trip Runner – meaning you must start over.

In the third and final level of the demo, the gameplay changes for a third and final time. Much like the barrel levels (you can probably guess where we’re going here) in Donkey Kong Country Returns, you hop onto the back of one of Rayman’s sidekicks – in this case it’s the mosquito – to fly through a second auto-scrolling level, in which you’re required to avoid obstacles, fire its poisonous sting, and inhale enemies to make it to the end.

From what’s available in the demo, Rayman Origins looks set to become the 3DS’s best platformer – at least until New Super Mario Bros. 2 arrives later this year – with huge variety in the levels, and some obvious inspiration from other well-known platforming series. While we don’t know how the final game will shape up against its home console and PlayStation Vita cousins in the long run, Ubisoft seems to have done a great job of porting the game to Nintendo’s handheld. Let’s hope the game meets our high expectations when it launches next month.

The Rayman Origins demo is available as a free download from the Nintendo eShop now. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think.

Preview: Conduit 2

Hey there! In case you NintendoInvader followers weren’t aware, I’m not Mart, the site’s regular poster. In fact, I’m a newly employed member of the team, and I’ll be posting some of my gaming-related writing works on the site! The posts I stick up on this site will be taken directly from my blog over on Blogger, and I’d appreciate it if you check it out and maybe even follow it if you’re awesome.
http://noodlelinksblog.blogspot.com/ is the adress you’ll be needing. Anyway, here’s my first post on Conduit 2!

In case you were wondering, I’m pretty excited about Conduit 2. This ‘bigger, better and bolder’ sequel to the original 2008 Wii shooter The Conduit launches over here in the UK today, and is one of the few Wii games we’re aware of coming out this year to honestly warrant a purchase. Of course, that will all change at E3 2011 when Nintendo announces their next Wii game onslaught and apparently a new console codenamed ‘Project Cafe’. More on that in a future post though – Let’s get back to Conduit 2. The game launched in NTSC regions several days ago, and up until now it has received some pretty great feedback. When the game was first announced last year the developers promised a bigger and much better game than the ‘love it or hate it’ original, and now that part of the world has played the game it seems that High Voltage Software certainly weren’t lying. Now that the PAL regions have finally got their hands on Conduit 2, why not have a read of this post that takes a look at what the game has to offer and see if you want to buy the game yourself?

The first Conduit game was a commercial failure. High Voltage hyped the game up a little too much and left fans disappointed at what they came out with: An admittedly bland corridor shooter with a pretty fun multiplayer mode. Now however, they’ve learned their lesson. Now that graphics aren’t a huge focus in Conduit 2, High Voltage had a chance to expand the story levels and the online multiplayer to create a much better game. The story follows on directly from the original game, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to play that to understand it. You play as Michael Ford, an agent who ended up getting involved in stopping a plot to invade Earth and for the most part succeeded. However, the evil man behind the invasion, Mr. Adams, managed to survive after the events of the original game and is still up to no good. He retreats to an abandoned oil rig and Ford chases after him in an attempt to end his evil doings once and for all. Yeah, it’s not the greatest set-up, but this is a shooter with a focus on action packed gameplay and not an epic plotline.

Like I said, the first level takes place on an oil rig (or oil derrick if you’re american) and acts as Conduit 2’s tutorial. According to several reviews I’ve read about the game, it feels a lot more fun than most other tutorials, and actually fits in with the story. As it turns out, an evil robotic alien creature known as a Leviathan is causing havoc in the oil rig, and ends up destroying a Conduit that Adams escapes through earlier on in the level leaving Ford behind with the beast. It’s unusual to have an epic boss battle in the very first level of a game, but High Voltage deliver. After taking out the Leviathan, Mr. Ford and his partner Prometheus (now trapped in the A.S.E, Ford’s special alien device) have to pursue Adams through a variety of locations that span all across the world, rather than just one city like in the much more plain original. Story-wise, that’s all I know. What? I wouldn’t want to spoil it for myself, would I?

As well as a vast single player campaign that will take several hours to complete, Conduit 2 also contains online and offline multiplayer. The online play is basically a much upgraded version of what we saw in the original game. Still the same basic concept, returning levels and modes (alongside loads of new ones) but with much more added on, such as an enhanced levelling-up system and many new options to customise your player. On top of online play, you can also play offline in a splitscreen mode. Two modes are available offline, namely the regular deathmatch mode supporting 2-4 players, or the Horde mode inspired by Gears of War 2. Horde mode sounds much more interesting. In this mode, you and your friends have to eliminate waves of enemies with a set number of lives. This can apparently be quite competitive, as you have to battle it out to score more points than your opponents while also helping them out when they’re outnumbered. Sounds thrilling, that’s for sure.

Playing through the globe-spanning single player campaign and the multiplayer modes of Conduit 2 earn you in-game credits that you can use to customise your character in both types of play, another unusual concept for a game of its kind. This means you can play through the single player mode in the sidelines of the multiplayer earning credits to get ready for some online play, without worrying about taking the fight to the rest of the world and failing. It’s when you decide to jump in online that matters. Naturally though, you can’t level up your character in single player or earn the achievements exclusive to multiplayer. Yup, there’s achievements too. Conduit 2 keeps sounding better and better, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there are some clear issues with the game that you notice before even playing it. First off, the new voice actors High Voltage have employed to voice the game’s characters are atrocious, B-movie style vocals. Micheal Ford’s voice actor is the main offender. The protagonist is played by the bloke who is well known as the voice of Duke Nukem, and he certainly sets the dial to ‘annoy’. Prometheus’ voice is pretty bad to in comparison to the first game, but Adams’ one isn’t too bad. Still, I don’t see why they couldn’t have used the same voice actors as the original game? Or at least find someone with less annoying vocal cords to play Mr. Ford.

So, there you have it. Will you be getting Conduit 2? Will you wait until it’s cheap like me or not buy it at all? Leave your opinions in the comments, or send a reply to @NintendoInvader on Twitter; I won’t bite! Until next time…