HD Resident Evil 4, Code: Veronica coming to PSN, XBLA

No High Scores
Look, I know this has been all over the Internet for the past day or two, but indulge me. I want to report on this too.

Capcom has announced that a two-fer triple-dip of Resident Evil 4 coupled with Code: Veronica is coming to both HD consoles’ download services later this year in celebration of the franchise’s 15th anniversary. Upgraded (read: upscaled) 720p graphics and full trophy/achievment support are on board. There is no mention of any additonal extras or new content, but if Move support isn’t included for 4 at least then it’s a missed opportunity.

You- down in front. Did I just hear you think “meh, cash-in re-release”? Listen buddy, Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games ever made. If you took Brandon’s Nintendogs hostage and said “pick a favorite console game or the Corgi goes to the Nintendpound”, Resident Evil 4 would be top of mind. I actually didn’t play the game until the Wii edition came out so we were already well into the HD generation, and I still think it tops most of the AAA efforts since then. It’s truly epic, grand, creepy, ridiculous, surreal, sublime, and packed full of non-DLC content. I’m totally OK with a straight re-release of it with HD support, if only because it’s playable on current consoles. And having just traded the Wii in last week, my only regret was the loss of RE4. Besides, Metacritic has deemed it great with its mighty 96 aggregate score. And Metacritic is the very Voice of God.

Code: Veronica is the icing on the cake. I played it only once back in the halcyon days of vodka drinking and Dreamcast gaming. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

Now, if we could just get the first three retooled and updated. 15 years? Wow. I’ll never the first time I played an import copy of Biohazard and had no idea what it was. When you find that first zombie in the hallway, I thought “holy $#!t, this is like some kind of George Romero game!” And look where that has gotten us now.

WonderBrit Powers Activate In New Hunted Trailer

Bethesda’s upcoming co-op fantasy yarn Hunted: The Demon’s Forge has a big, bald Brit and a lithe, lovely, elvish Brit simultaneously shooting demons with arrows and hitting them until they explode. It’s all very fantasy heavy and super serious until you get to the part where the bald guy can apparently levitate enemies simply by yelling very, very loudly. The vibe is a little Wonder Twinsy, but in my opinion, co-op elevates everything so I’m willing to give this one a try.

3DS Freebies Revealed

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As we wind up for Sunday’s 3DS launch, expect to see a bunch more 3DS stuff on Ye Olde Blogge to get you prepared for the future of portable eye strain. Today we point you to an excellent column at Wired where Chris Kohler details all of the free, built-in games and applications that ship with the 3DS. As with all new Nintendo hardware, these games look to be tech demos more than anything else, but you can still shoot a VR dragon that’s coming out of your coffee table and that’s more than I can say with the free apps that came on my phone. Take that HTC!

Wired’s Rating Nintendo 3DS’ Baked-In Freebies

Duke Nukem Forever Delayed

Of course it is.

New Patapon 3 Trailer

Time to get your rhythm on and meet the “Uberhero” with the new trailer. This one is set to drop April 12th.

KEY FEATURES

* BIGGEST RHYTHMIC-BASED WAR EXPERIENCE ON THE PSP – Glimpse into the deep multiplayer campaigns that deliver an epic feel with the addition of the new Hero Patapon!
* SUPER HERO SPECIAL ATTACKS – Customize your Super Hero Patapon to your specifications and deliver special attacks with the new Superhero character then lead your rhythmic army with a wide selection of soldier types.
* ONLINE CO-OP – Online Co-op and competitive gameplay with up to 8 players.
* CHAT SYSTEM – Chat with other Super Hero Patapons with an all new Pata-Text chat system.
* RHYTHM AND ACTION COLLIDE – Master all 8 drum rhythms and match them to your friends to lead your squad into victory over enemies and online opponents.
* LEVELING-UP – Collect elements to level-up your Super Hero Patapon or evolve into other Patapon forms.
* MISSION VARIETY – Take part in Co-Op Quests or competitive ‘Capture the Flag’ multiplayer game modes.
* UNIQUE ART STYLE – French graphic artist Rolito, noted for his abstract art style seen in collectible toys, animation, and websites, lends his skills to create a variety of unique characters and environments, bringing the Patapon world to life.

For more info check out the Patapon website: http://www.patapon-game.com/

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls Coming to PSN This Spring

Sorry Xbox/PC people, this one looks to be a PSN exclusive, according to the press release sent over from XSEED today.

I have to come clean — I was never a Wizardry guy. Of course I knew of the game but was always a Bard’s Tale fellow. Apparently, and I wasn’t aware of this, but Wizardry is still a rather big deal in Japan. This upcoming PSN release in North America is actually a re-release of a game that was available in Japan called Wizardry: Torawareshi Tamashii no Meiky? (Dungeon of Imprisoned Souls).

XSEED is bringing that game (renamed obviously), under the development of ACQUIRE, to North American gamers via the PS Network.

“Having the opportunity to work with ACQUIRE to bring over Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is truly an exciting one for us,” said Jun Iwasaki, President of XSEED Games. “We’ve long admired the Wizardry series as a pioneer of the RPG genre, so with our upcoming release players will be able to experience a defining moment in gaming history.”

Question is, do North American gamers still have a fondness for the Wizardry style of gameplay?

More from the PR:

Following in the tradition of the Wizardry series is the very first version available for today’s Next-Gen gamers; Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls features a simple game system complementing deep and involving (its) dungeon designs. Hardcore RPG fans will find a extensive and grueling 1st-person 3D grid-based dungeon crawl experience rendered in high-definition with hand-drawn characters and sprites by commercial artist Yuki Hayabusa. Players will develop a party of up to six members culled from a rich mix of five races and eight classes, and prepare to encounter over 120 different monsters.

Kratos Mortal Kombat Trailer

Remember when SoulCalibur 2 came out and the GameCube version got Link and the PS2 version got that dude from Tekken and the Xbox version got some lame ass character that Todd McFarlane pulled out of his trash bin? Good times. With the upcoming release of Mortal Kombat, the PS3 version gets Kratos while the 360 version gets…nothing. Kratos fits in perfectly with the Mortal Kombat oeuvre, so this fits and the lack of a crappy character shoehorned into the 360 version is better than whatever pile of creative snot Todd McFarlane has rolling around his brain.

Battle Slots!

I am a sucker for these puzzle-RPG mashup games and Battle Slots fits that genre perfectly. You battle! With slots! Plus, I like it because once, when I was in Atlantic City, I fought off an orc invasion with a Dolphin Treasure, multiline slot machine. Thragnar the Magnificent was all like “ARRGGHHH!!” and was all like, five wild suns bitch! Cha-ching!

Battle Slots is set to release this year although no release date is given.

Goodbye Old Friend

No High Scores

On Sunday the 3DS will be released and my time with my DSi will come to a close. Oh sure, I’ll still have it, but unless the tales of poor DS game performance on the 3DS are right on the money, my DSi will go to my kids, same as my DS did. It seems silly to be melancholy over a console, but so much of my gaming life has been wrapped up in this little machine these past years, I can’t help it…

Oddly enough, when the DS was first announced, way back in 2004, I honestly didn’t see the point of it. I’d had a Nintendo handheld since the GameBoy Color and absolutely loved my GBA SP, but a big honkin’ handheld with two screens? Come on. Who needs two screens? Who needs a touch screen? Buttons are fine!

And so I passed it up, thinking it was all just a silly gimmick. Sure, I’d see it in the GameStop and play around with it from time to time, and I absolutely hated the Metroid Prime Hunters demo, no doubt because I was an idiot as I ended buying the game. As a result I didn’t have the desire to buy one until Nintendogs. Yes, Nintendogs.

I have two dogs and they’re both pretty dang old, old back then too and the ability to play with spry, young puppies tugged at my heartstrings. I love my dogs, but sometimes I miss when they were young, excitable puppies, no doubt because I was a bit of a young, excitable pup back then too. Here though was a game that let me play with puppies, dress them up in outlandish outfits and best of all, I didn’t have to clean up poop, pay exorbitant vet fees or arrange for a petsitter every time we wanted to travel. Talk about a win-win. And so, in August of 2005, when Nintendogs launched, I bought my first DS.

I forget how clunky the original DS was with its strange bevels and odd coloring. It was so much bigger and weighed so much more than my GBA SP yet didn’t have the sexy sleekness of my PSP. Like, remember how the original DS had that thumb-stylus thing you could use? I miss that thing. For reference here’s an excerpt from a piece I wrote about the DS back when I first got it, when I was young and in love:

They’re both pretty much the same size, which means you need cargo pants to carry them around in, or those crazy-big hip-hop jeans that all the kids seem to like. They are handheld in that they can be held in your hands, but so can a watermelon and I wouldn’t want to carry that damn thing around all day. Having some sort of case is essential for both, if only to carry the unit and the games. For the PSP it’s a goddamn imperative because that screen attracts scratches like monkeys attract things that like monkeys.

At the time I got my DS, I had a PSP as well and the drought of PSP games made the DS a no-brainer. That’s a trend that would continue for some time as the DS quickly eclipsed the PSP both in my heart and in my free time. Eventually I would trade in my PSP for my Xbox 360 if memory serves me correctly while I kept my DS until the DS Lite was released.

Through the years with my DS, I had all manner of awesome gaming and personal experiences with it. I remember sitting up at two in the morning, in a hotel room in Yaroslavl, Russia, jet lagged and exhausted yet unable to sleep as I waited with my wife to adopt our daughter the next day. At 2 AM there’s not much on TV, even less when you don’t understand Russian and you can only read so much before even that gets boring. To pass the time I played my DS, specifically Trauma Center: Under the Knife. By the end of my time with that game, I hated it, in part because of the difficulty of the final surgery, in part because it represented sleepless nights in a foreign place, both tired and scared of what was to come.

The DS led to the DS Lite and eventually the DSi and over the course of time, the console grew to become my favorite console ever. I would leave home with it in my work bag, play it at lunch, bring it home and then play it while watching TV. Sometimes, as with Puzzle Quest, I played it in bed. I’m sure my wife hates the damn thing, but I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I loved being blown away by games like The World Ends With You and Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. I loved that I wrote my first GameShark review (Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom) for a DS game and wrote more reviews for the platform than any other. What had started out as a purchase made to interact with make believe puppies became a source of revenue, a source of amusement and a constant companion.

Sure, I have had great gaming experiences on other platforms. I still remember playing Icewind Dale with a party made from my take on the fantasy version of the characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I remember fondly the Friday nights of system link Halo in my basement. More recent forays into co-op and achievement hunting with Petey and Hodge have made my 360 so important in my house I got another one to keep in a different room, but as my time with the DS went on, it became my favorite console, a title it holds to this day. In fact, early on in the life of Jumping the Shark, I remember saying the DS was my favorite console and Todd saying he didn’t consider handhelds consoles and I remember being surprised. How can you not consider this, one of the greatest gaming machines of all time a console? What it lacked in size or processing power, it made up for in heart.

And maybe that’s why I loved it so much, because it was never as pretty or as powerful or as sexy as the consoles around it yet it performed admirably and consistently. It was fun to be around and a joy to experience even if it wasn’t the best or the brightest. For someone like me, who has never been the best, nor the brightest at anything, it was hard not to fall in love with such a plucky little thing, and be happy for its success as it steamrolled everything else around it.

It’s silly to invest emotion into these material things as to the people that make them, they’re more representative of numbers on a balance sheet than they are human experiences and had the DS flopped, for all that I loved it, Nintendo would have done away with it and tried again. However it didn’t flop, it succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations and that success allowed it to stay around and give me more wonderful gaming experiences as the years went on.

So yeah, I’m sad to see it go and sure, I could skip the 3DS and stick with my DSi if I wanted to. I still have Radiant Historia to finish and 999 to finish and so much of Pokemon White to experience, not to mention whatever DS games are still to come as the system winds down, but eventually it will come to an end. The 3DS is here and soon the DS won’t be. My kids will have my old ones and I’ll have my 3DS with all of its cool, new technology, and a copy of Nintendogs, to bring it full circle. Still though, I’ll miss my DS and the times I had with it. It was a good machine and it served me well and so much of my life has been wrapped up in it these past years that it’s like a little piece of me is moving on too.

So farewell DS. Farewell and thank you. I’ll always remember what we had together.

I have been, and always shall be, your friend.

New Trailer for The First Templar

A lot of hit and miss in that trailer. I do like that it’s co-op, though. I played a very early build of this and it had a ways to go so hopefully the additional development time helped.

PR ahead:

Kalypso Media USA, Inc. is pleased to release a new trailer for The First Templar, their upcoming third-person cooperative action game. The trailer showcases some of the game’s furious combat and diverse environments. The First Templar is set for a May 10 release in North America on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC, and features drop-in cooperative play, a historically inspired game world and a mix of puzzle and combat-based gameplay. For more information about The First Templar, please visit www.kalypsomedia.com.

Follow the path of two heroes on their search for the Holy Grail. The young French Templar Celian teams up with the noble lady and proclaimed heretic Marie to unveil a conspiracy within the Order of the Knights Templar. The heroes face opponents at every turn including the Saracen, King Philip of France and the Holy Inquisition. The First Templar offers a captivating campaign that can be enjoyed alone or cooperatively with a friend. When playing solo, the player can switch freely between the two characters, leaving the control of the second hero to the game’s AI. At any time, a second player may join in and take control of the second hero.