Monday, June 29, 2009

Trace Memory - Will It Ever Make Its Way Back to North America?

Trace Memory, originally released for the Nintendo DS in North America in 2005, felt like a breath of fresh air in a gaming market that feels a bit stale at times. A puzzle-heavy adventure title, it went on to become more successful overseas than over on this side of the pond. Sure, it was pretty much devoid of any action or violence, but Trace Memory was still a beautiful, unique adventure title marred only by its unfortunate brief length (seasoned gamers could finsh it in well under 10 hours, though I do get the urge to play it again from time to time).

Known as Another Code in Japan, 'Another Code: R' has already made its way over to Japan and Europe. Continuing the story of the first title on the DS, foreign genre fans and those who have imported this sequel have been eating it up so far (even if Japanese gaming magazine giant Famitsu did score it an underwhelming 28/40, fan reception has been significantly better).

So, the question facing us is... will Trace Memory ever make its way back to the U.S.? I'm certainly hoping so! While a North American release has not been announced yet (and this dry summer season would have been the absolute perfect time for a title like this), I'm hoping that Nintendo will take a risk and give the U.S. market another chance at this original series. After all, I'm sure hardcore gamers who own a Wii would prefer a Trace Memory sequel over derirative New Play Control re-releases and the glut of shovelware plaguing the console, right?

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne Reprints - Get 'Em While They Last!

Despite being highly acclaimed upon release in late 2004, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne quickly fell into obscurity shortly after release due to being largely ignored by the game playing public. After fetching insane amounts of money on eBay due to later demand and a lack of adequate supply, GameQuestDirect took notice and gained permission from Atlus to sell reprinted copies of this title in 2008. Selling on an average of $35-$50, even those were quickly snapped up and the game once again became highly sought after.

GameQuestDirect has once again reprinted Nocturne in solid quantities for its original retail price of $49.99. While that may still seem a bit steep in price for those who are only mildly interested in playing a last-gen RPG, if you enter in coupon code GPNOCTURNE on their websiteit will bump the total price down to a mere $29.99. Add in their free shipping option and you have a deal that’s not too shabby, especially considering the fact that Nocturne is bound to explode in value once this next batch of reprints are completely sold out.

Nocturne is definitely a title I’ve had my eye on for years now but avoided due to the absurd prices it was going for on online auction sites. Here's hoping my $30 copy lives up to the hype!


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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

E3 2009: And The Most Impressive Showing Was...

E3 2009 was certainly one of the more memorable E3 events held in recent years. Chock full of surprises from all three of the main competitors (Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft), I’m now looking forward to the rest of this gaming year more enthusiastically after some of the major new titles were finally unveiled during 2009’s largest gaming event. Who had the best overall showing in my book, though? Let’s just say it’ll be the company that has me the most excited for gaming’s (near) future…

On the Xbox 360 front, Microsoft announced some superb-looking (though expected) sequels such as Forza Motorsport 3 and Crackdown 2 that are sure to become hits when released later this year. The classic N64 FPS Perfect Dark will also be making its way over to Xbox Live Arcade, and the sequel to last year’s stunningly-received Left 4 Dead will be returning only to the Xbox 360 (though keep in mind it’s only a console exclusive – a PC version is very well on its way as well). Microsoft will also be entering the motion-control realm with Project Nadal, which lets you use your entire body to control on-screen functions. Let’s hope that the 360 market doesn’t become oversaturated with throwaway shovel ware ala the Wii due to this new device.

Sony had a solid, though unspectacular showing at this year’s E3. The announcement of a new PSP was certainly large news, and the PSP will be getting some impressive exclusives in the Gran Turismo, Assassin’s Creed and Resident Evil franchises. PS3 sequels such as God of War III and Uncharted 2 do certainly look great though… but then again, we’ve known about these for quite awhile now. Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3 was shown for the first time, however, and it looks like it’ll provide some stiff competition for Microsoft’s Forza 3 when it releases sometime in the future. Sony also unveiled their own motion controller which will see release in Spring 2010.

Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference surprised me the most. In terms of software, there were many unexpected returns such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Yeah, yeah… they kinda look like mere rehashes of past games, but their processors were of such outstanding quality that it’s hard not to get excited about these sequels. Perhaps most shocking of all, Team Ninja will be developing the next Metroid game which is said to be “edgier” than past entries. Wii Fit Plus, The Wii Vitality sensor, and new DS titles such as Zelda: Sprit Trackers another Golden Sun entry round out Nintendo’s portion of E3.

Overall, while Microsoft and Sony have some undeniably big hitters coming this season, it looks like Nintendo’s showing at E3 had the largest amount of software that I can’t wait to get my hands on. It’s safe to say that it’s going to be another great year for all three of the manufactures, though.

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