The Walls of Jericho News Report 06.26.12
Posted by Jericho Ricardi on 06.26.2012
Thoughts on Xenoblade Chronicles, Skyrim gets an expansion pack, Kirby's Dream Collection announced, Mass Effect 3's new ending, and the Wario Land quadrilogy is your Classic Game Series of the Week!
BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!
Welcome to the eighth installment of The Walls of Jericho.
WHO AM I?
I'm Jericho. Yes, like the wrestler. Yes, that's my real name. I'm in my fourth year of college in Boston. I've been playing video games for most of my life, and writing about them is a hobby of mine. While this is my 411Mania.com debut, I've been writing about games on the internet for a while. I keep up a website - Coronajumper.com - which I update with game (and sometimes movie) related posts on a pretty regular basis.
In the Wii: XENOBLADE CHRONICLES
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES IS AWESOME: This isn't really news, though. More on this in the Jericho Corner.
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim gets its first expansion pack: Dawnguard has arrived for download on XBOX Live, with PS3 and PC releases to follow. This expansion has players trying to stop a vampire lord from ending the sun. If previous Elder Scrolls games are anything to go by, this is the first of two expansion packs for the bestselling game with a Game of the Year edition to follow, probably around Christmas 2013. By then I might have gotten through Morrowwind and Oblivion... we'll see.
Kirby's Dream Collection confirmed for the Wii: This game will be released on September 16th in North America. It looks like it'll be a ton of value; it surpasses past classics like Mario All-Stars and Metroid Prime Trilogy by including six games. Kirby's Dream Land 1, 2, 3, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby 64, and the legendary Kirby Super Star will all be included. Since Super Star might as well be several games in and of itself, and taking into account the extras like soundtracks and new challenge stages, this looks like it'll be the ultimate collection for Kirby fans. The only downside is that the vast majority of the content here has been available for a while already via Virtual Console and so forth.
My first game was Kirby's Dream Land, so I have a particularly strong attachment to the series. I've never played Dream Land 3 or Kirby 64, so it may be worth checking out for me just on that alone. We'll see what Nintendo sets the price at; it'll likely do very well if they give it the same $30 price tag that Mario All-Stars recently got.
Mass Effect 3's new ending finally drops: The new ending DLC for Mass Effect 3 will be available for download this morning with a price tag of... $0. Yep. Here's hoping it makes the fans happy and resolves the saga in a more concrete way. What are you waiting for? Go check it out right now.
AS MANDATED BY 411 LAW: A LADY
The Queen Bee from Conker's Bad Fur Day is lookin' pretty good. Awwww yeaaaah!
Thanks to Nick (@NicholasVogt) for the highly professional banner!
THE JERICHO CORNER: Thoughts on games and things
...XENOBLADE CHRONICLES IS AWESOME: This is the third time I've been glad to have a Wii (the other two times were Metroid Prime Trilogy and Donkey Kong Country Returns). Here are some thoughts on the game as I played it up to now, in bullet point form (SPOILERS ABOUND)
-I like that Xenoblade's cast are almost all adults or near-adults. That I know of. That and the character designs set it apart from the usual Japan fare.
-The gem system is very intuitive. It's similar to crystals/augments in WoW/Everquest, but the way they are made in this game is pretty unique and interesting.
-The Ether Mines seem to be in the front pelvic region of Bionis. Does this mean Bionis is female? ...ew.
-The skill link system seems really limited, probably because my characters don't have many talents unlocked.
-Speaking of talents, one thing I don't like about the game is that the talent trees are... pretty boring and there's no "tree" part. I wish they had gone for a WoW-like system for this aspect of the game. As it is, talents are just something you set to learn and forget about. I've switched some (possibly all) characters away from their original talent to a different side since they were getting to where it was taking forever to get to the next skill (and said next skills didn't look that great).
-I really like the game thusfar. The story is good. I wish Dunban were the main instead of Shulk, but that's okay. Dunban really is a fresh character, kind of a fusion of Fei, Kain, and Balthier. Shulk is a cool dude, but he really does fall more into the "RPG Main Character Archetype" of a late teenager in over his head.
-The Mechon are interesting. I just wish they were the Diabolos and that this was XG/XS4 and that Reyn was Roni or Rene and that Dunban was Lacan, but this is a wish that will go unfulfilled until the end of time just like a Sulu Excelsior show. And that... is okay.
-The tentacled mechon was really difficult for me. It's entirely possible I haven't "gotten" the game yet, because I don't think I'm underleveled. I like that this game seems to make you rely on strategy a lot more than levels.
-I wish the second faced mechon hadn't talked. Up until that point, the faced mechons had hella menace, but then that guy had to open his mouth.
-What are the odds that the third guy from the intro, the one who fled and left Dunban and Fei's Dad to die, will turn up later on as some sort of bio-mechon? #Hammer2K12
-Did they seriously kill Fiora within the first few hours of the game? Really? REALLY? Much like Aeris, I was planning on having her be a permanent fixture in my party before she suddenly died. I hope she somehow returns, but I don't know how that's going to happen.
-I like how characters auto-regen, so you never need to run to an inn (which, as a result, don't exist). I also like the Fast Travel option, which is lifted directly from Fallout 3 (and even has the same name, I believe). It means you'll never get stuck in a dungeon.
-Fallout 3... your time may finally come sooner than later. Xenoblade is helping me overcome my fear of the Really Long Game.
-I had a dream where I beat Xenoblade and my time was 19:55. I thought there must be some mistake, then discovered I had hella more stuff to do. Like what happened with FF12. Only this game is a lot more compelling than FF12 in the sidequest department, which is a tough thing to be.
-I'm now up to the lake with the levitating city above it. This has definite shades of Xenogears. I wonder if it'll turn out that technologically superior lifeforms in flying cities are secretly running everything in this game too.
-This game has huge amounts of potential, and as a full-bore RPG, it's something the Wii was desperately in need of. It has a distinctly 90's RPG feel to it, and I'm enjoying it profusely. Finally, my Wii has a use again.
Super Mario Bros Crossover is ridiculously cool, Part III: Check this game out at Super Mario Bros Crossover. This is the last time I'm mentioning SMBC in the column (hey, it isn't like I'm getting kickbacks from Exploding Rabbit), but I just wanted to make sure no one missed out on checking out this rad to the max game.
CLASSIC GAME SERIES OF THE WEEK: WARIO LAND
Starting out as a spinoff to the Mario Land series on the Game Boy, the Wario Land series surged to popularity with a stellar first game. This led to a number of sequels, none of which really measured up to the original. It seems like this series is where Nintendo flexed their creativity a bit more than usual, using it as a testing ground for ideas that may have been too controversial for the Mario series.
Read my image-laden playthroughs of the Wario Land series here and see how it evolved over time, for better or worse: The Wario Land Series