Review – Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Review Luigis Mansion
Luigi steps out from the shadow of his famous brother, only to once again find himself cast into the shadowy halls of haunted dwellings, where legions of spirits wait to spook the hesitant hero. When the Dark Moon floating over Evershade Valley is stolen, the colorful poltergeists infesting the area begin causing mayhem, prompting Professor E. Gadd to summon Luigi’s assistance in getting his paranormal research back on track.

Rather than tackling one large mansion, Luigi will be transported to several locations, dispatched from the Professor’s bunker via a device that pixelates and transports him through security cameras, ala Tron.

The handheld release offers a stage layout for each area, where Luigi will accomplish small tasks toward recovering the pieces of the Dark Moon hidden within each, which feeds a quicker action based style of game versus a spiraling haunted mystery.


Review – Lego City Undercover

Review Lego City Undercover
Lego City Undercover serves as my annual reminder not to make up my mind about a game prior to playing it.

Despite a well earned sense of exhaustion from numerous Lego videogames based on popular franchises in recent years, Chase McCain’s mission to save Lego City from seasoned criminal Rex Fury managed to sink its teeth in firmly, until I’d found myself saving said city some thirteen hours later and realized that I’d still only completed 18% of what the entire game has to offer.


Review – Tomb Raider

Review Tomb Raider
Vegetation reclaims the land around ancient Asian temples. Turrets built during the Second World War rot into the cliffs overlooking ships that lay battered and broken against the rocks, where angry waves warn off any thought of escape. And the diaries of countless inhabitants throughout time are scattered across the ruins of an island rich with a dark history.

While Lara Croft’s first expedition uncovers an island prison run by years of stranded inmates, she also discovers a landscape that abandons the idea of singular globetrotting digs offering a sterile glimpse into frozen pockets of time, instead uncovering a complex web, where the strings of history intertwine around a mystery beating a rhythm of madness heard across the entire island.

And while Lara unearths the pieces to this puzzle, the franchise mirrors her efforts with a dig through the more recent history of the medium. It doesn’t take a gaming archeologist to see the influences running throughout Tomb Raider, particularly the unsteady ground and quick time events that fed Uncharted’s cinematic flow.

But as a student of history, Tomb Raider isn’t looking to simply copy answers during the test.


Your Nintendo News Landslide

Nintendo Direct
With the void left by third-party developers shifting away from portable releases on the 3DS and Vita, and the launch of the Wii U stealing attention since last year’s E3, the 3DS recieved a flood of attention today as the Big N seeks to create a balanced release schedule for their home console and handheld that would seem to have every creative asset at their disposal firing on all cylinders.

At least it seems pretty impressive when Nintendo discusses the 3DS in 2013 and doesn’t have time to mention new Pokemon releases during what Nintendo refers to as, “The Year of Luigi.”

The focus on Mario’s timid brother begins with the already well known and upcoming release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS, with Nintendo mentioning two additional multiplayer modes as well as showing off how Luigi’s Poltergust 5000 can be used to interact with the environment to help solve puzzles.

Keeping with the Luigi theme, Nintendo also pulled out a new entry in the Mario & Luigi franchise for the 3DS set to release this Summer. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team finds Mario venturing inside Luigi’s dreams, with players using the dual screens to interact with the sleeping Luigi in order to affect changes within the dreamstate.

Nintendo also revealed that another release in the Mario Golf series would be arriving this Summer as well, with Mario Golf World Tour under the familiar development hands of Camelot Software.

And if that doesn’t fill you up, Nintendo also plans to bring the Luigi celebration to the Wii U, with word that this year will see downloadable content that offers alternate versions of all the stages within New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, creating a new game the publisher has dubbed New Super Luigi U.

Aside from familiar plumbers, Nintendo also made plenty of fans happy with a release date of June 9th for Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS, and news that the notoriously difficult Wii revival of Donkey Kong is being revamped for release on the 3DS as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.

But wait, there’s even more!

The 3DS eShop received plenty of attention today as well, with news that Pokemon creator Game Freak’s rhythm game, HarmoKnight, will be releasing on March 14th, followed by a sequel to Dillion’s Rolling Western, The Last Ranger, on April 11th.

It’s dizzying to think there’s even more Nintendo gave us to talk about today, so let’s soak up video clips for all these announcements first, which you can catch below.


Demo Report – Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Demo Report Etrian Odyssey IV
I love milkshakes.

I know they’re not necessarily the healthiest treat option available to me, so I try not to drink them too often. However, when I get my hands on one, I am relentless and guzzle it up, usually to the point that my wife has to tell me to stop making disgusting sounds as I suck the straw like an addict trying to get just one last tiny hit from his crack pipe.

The Etrian Odyssey IV demo is kind of like that.

I have tasted every last bit of what it has to offer and am starving for more. Atlus was generous to provide such a meaty demo, but in a sense, they were also a little cruel. If anyone takes the time needed to build a party of adventurers, traverse through and map out every square inch of the available labyrinths, level up their characters to the max that is allotted in the demo, and complete all offered quests, they are going to find it very hard to wait a couple more weeks to continue their journey into all that Etrian Odyssey IV has to offer.


Muramasa Rebirth

Muramasa Rebirth
Perhaps surprisingly to some, including myself, Aksys Games has announced that they will be publishing the Vita revisit of Vanillaware’s stunning Muramasa: The Demon Blade – which originally released for the Wii back in 2009.

Redesigned for the PlayStation Vita, Muramasa Rebirth will feature a complete re-localization in English, while again offering players the chance to guide Momohime and/or Kisuke through lush painted landscapes while learning the ins and outs of the 108 possible blades that can be forged.

On the flip-side, completionists can expect to chase down some DLC, with four additional scenarios that offer different characters.

Aksys hasn’t yet provided a date for the release, so stay tuned.

Review – The Cave

Review The Cave
A sentient cave awaits those that seek to fulfill their greatest desires, which for the purposes of Ron Gilbert’s collaboration with Double Fine, attracts seven individuals for players to choose from. Actually one of those is two people, so I guess that would be eight, but anyway…

Stirring memories of 1987′s Maniac Mansion, players will assemble a party of three from the cast before embarking into the dark bowels of The Cave. But where that same choice in Maniac Mansion offered the potential for different endings, choosing your party here instead determines the areas players will encounter during their journey.