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Getting excited for Skylanders Giants

Second Generation of SkylandersIt’s been around a year since the launch of Skylanders, and I finally finished collecting all of the first gen. I knew it would take off when it first came out because the game is not only fun but collecting all the Skylanders has a really cool toy/collecting element.  The figures themselves are really neat too.

Both Keen and I are excited about Skylanders Giants coming out on the 18th of this month.  The new site recently went up showcasing the Giants.  They look great, and I’m anxious to see how they’re worked into the game.  There are 8 Giants,  8 Lightcore, and something like 8 new Skylanders plus a few returning.  Lightcore figures are special. When put on the portal the light shines through them giving them a neat luminescent look, and they also have special abilities.  The returning Skylanders are in new poses, and are able to level higher than the cap of the previous game to get new special powers.

All Skylanders Figures

My first gen Skylanders Collection

Even though Skylanders is a game designed for kids, and that’s definitely their target audience, it would be nice if they gave an option for increased difficulty.  While there are some difficult spots, it would be nice to have a little more challenge across the board.  Going along the same thought, I think harder or more complex puzzles would be nice.   We both wish there was an online battle component, or online multiplayer.  It would be really neat to play online, since Skylanders supports co-op play so well.

Given the popularity of the first game, it’s a given that the second generation will be sold out well in advance of the holiday season.  You’ll need to decide quickly between the Portal Owner Pack since it’s cheaper if you already have the first game, or the Skylanders Giants Start Kit which comes with two regular figures plus a giant.  Technically the starter kit makes buying more Skylanders difficult/expensive because you’ll end up getting duplicates in three-packs (which are cheaper than buying individual figures).

Since so many of you showed a surprisingly high level of interest in my posts about the Skylanders, I’ll definitely keep you updated with my thoughts on Skylanders Giants.

Foam Core Gaming Episode 2

Lego Batman 2 released Tuesday, and Gus is anxious to play the game he was born to play. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse when a spurned Norm lashes out the only way he knows how.

Subscribe to know when more of Norm and Gus’ adventures are available!

You can watch all of Foam Core Gaming’s episodes here.

Episode 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp3LsrJuMVA

 

[E3] What ‘Wii’ hope to see from Nintendo

E3 2012 begins next week and the coverage around the web is going to explode with details about new consoles, release dates, and reasons for gamers to anticipate upcoming games.  We’re going to kick off our E3 coverage by detailing what we want to see from Nintendo this year.

Wii U

The Wii U will most likely take center stage during Nintendo’s press conference, and if Nintendo has come prepared the whole expo.  Right away we want to see a new name announced for the Wii U.  The connection to a previous console generation — one that failed to attract the core gamer for Nintendo in a big way — is a mistake.  Unfortunately, we doubt it will happen because of the extensive branding Nintendo has done for the Wii U.

Nintendo needs to bring it with their Wii U launch lineup.  Lagging behind the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 for years hasn’t done them any favors with gamers like us.  Sure, we love the first party Nintendo titles, but they’re few and far between.  When a new third party game launches, we don’t even consider the Wii.  That needs to change with the Wii U.  The new Aliens game is coming to the Wii U and we know about Darksiders 2 already which means Nintendo is hopefully off to a good start.  We want to see efforts made to bring the core gamer back to Nintendo.

Graphically, the Wii U is rumored to be on par with the Xbox 360 if not only slightly better, and we have lost all desire to even stomach all things ‘waggle’.  The Wii U controller is the linchpin with perhaps a little too much riding on it.  That controller with a screen in the middle needs to be at the front of first and third party titles’ innovation, and Nintendo absolutely must allow multiple people to use them instead of one new remote with others forced to use waggle sticks.

Achievements and better online functionality are also a must for Nintendo.  We’d love to see an achievement or trophy system, perhaps integrated into Nintendo.com or somehow sharable with others.  Multiplayer on the Wii sucks, so we’re anxious to see how Nintendo addresses that on the Wii U with the already announced “Nintendo Network”.

 

Games

Nintendo already announced they’re working on a new Pikmin and Super Mario title and teased unrevealed titles for the Wii U on their Facebook page yesterday.

Despite their likelihood, we have a list of the games we want to see talked about at E3 for various Nintendo consoles.

  • Remake of Majora’s mask on 3DS and a more classic (2d style) Zelda made for 3DS.
  • F-Zero game, haven’t seen one since F-Zero GX on Gamecube.
  • New StarFox game for the Wii-U or 3DS
  • Metroid sidescroller or Metroid Prime style
  • Mario Sunshine or Mario 64 style Mario game instead of another Galaxy, since we prefer the levels over the planetoids.

E3 2012 is Nintendo’s year to lose.  We hope to see them bring their best to contend with whatever Sony and Microsoft have to offer.

 

Long Games: A Gift and a Curse

I used to like long games a lot.  I used to think games should definitely be a certain length.  Maybe I’m getting older, but I don’t like it when games are very long anymore.  Sometimes a longer game gives you more to do, but other times there isn’t necessarily ‘more’ to do, but instead it drags on and you just want it to end.

I’m maybe just over halfway through Xenoblade Chronicles at 64 hours, and there is still a ton more content. I should be rejoicing that my $49 investment is netting so much enjoyment — and it is enjoyment!  This is one of the best JRPG’s I’ve played and definitely one of the better Wii titles.  There are 480 side quests.  I’m the type that likes to clear all side quests in an area, but in Xenoblade they reward you too well and I’m 10 level higher than the content every time.  I’m starting to think I’d like it to just end.

The same thing happened to me when I got to this point in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and still have half the game left.  I started to just run through the quests as fast as possible. I even stopped doing side quests at one point.

Why do I want longer games to end, despite having tons of fun while playing?  I feel like I can’t get involved in other games, like I can’t do anything else, until the game is over. At a certain point, I want to start playing other things.

What do you guys think?  Do games drag on for you at a certain point, or do you wish they’d be longer?

Pre-Summer Backlogs

Dueling Analogs 'Getting a New Game'

Dueling Analogs really sums up our thoughts on how we fall into the backlog trap.

It’s that time again!  Spring is in the air, summer is right on the horizon, and we once again have backlogs of backlogs of backlogs, and lots of games are releasing in the next few months.  We do this every year.  We evaluate where we’re at with the games we played this past year, and how many we still need to finish so that we can alleviate some of our cognitive dissonance we feel when we want to buy more new games but haven’t finished what’s currently on our shelf.

Let’s look at our backlogs.

Graev’s Backlog

  • Xenoblade – Now available at Gamefly as well instead of being a Gamestop exclusive.  I need to finish this, but the more I play the more I realize it’s so enormous.
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Resident Evil 3DS
  • Metal Gear solid 3DS – Need to finish
  • Rayman – Just finished
  • Uncharted 3 – Need to finish

Keen’s Backlog

  • Skyrim – I was overwhelmed by Skyrim.  It was too big for me, too much to handle when it launched.  I need to break it into pieces and chew slowly.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (30% off on Sale) + DLC – I’m working my way through this one. I really want to finish up all the quests and play the DLC.

Games we’re working through Co-op

Now’s the time to finish your backlogs or take advantage of the sales during this calm before the storm.  This summer might actually prove to be the best in many years with Diablo 3, Lego Batman 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, Darksiders 2, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Mario Tennis Open (3ds), Heroes of Ruin (3ds),  and possibly Guild Wars 2 releasing.  You can see why we’re anxious to finish up these backlogs.

What’s in your backlog that you need to finish up before the Summer wave?