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R.I.P- Rik Mayall and Hogs of War Tribute

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I was quite upset when I heard about the news before watching E3 last week during the Monday afternoon, one of my favourite comedian Rik Mayall who died at his home in Barnes, London at the age of 56, some said he suffered an "acute cardiac event" shortly after returning from a run. But this was truly sad news for everyone including Ade Edmondson where both of them have been in some of the best British comedies like The Young Ones and Bottom including a movie called Guest House Paradiso.

*Bottom-GAS was shown on BBC 2 this week to pay tribute and the best episode in the series*

Tributes have been paid around the country from comedians and fans across the country including an unofficial blue plaque appeared in Hammersmith, London which referenced the opening title sequence of BBC sitcom series Bottom. Not only Rik Mayall appeared in comedies and in the movie Drop Dead Fred, He even voiced both narration and for characters for a game which was called Hogs of War released back in 2000 for both PS1 and PC.

Hogs of War was a lot like Worms but instead it was set during the First World War and instead of worms you control pigs which all had their own country/team like Tommy Trotters was the British Team, Garlic Grunts was the French Team, Sow-A-Krauts was the German Team. There are other country team’s names in the game as well. This was a turn-based tactics game where you take turns controlling individual members of their squad of hogs to engage in combat with the opposition, similar to Worms which I've already mentioned. Each turn takes control of a single squad member in a third-person perspective to move around the map, including jumping over terrain and swimming over bodies of water, yet can only engage in combat when stationary with weapons like a gun, bazooka or even your fists. Each turn has a set time limit and ends if the timer counts down to zero, so you may want to move as quick as you can and quickly think what's the best strategy to taking out your opponents on the battlefield. Not just the 3D graphics that looked stunning for a multiplayer war game, the single-player campaign offered quite a lot as you progressed your way to victory in winning the war with one of your teams and using medals to promote your pigs so that they can gain new weapons and more health.

*This was some recording footage I've found on Youtube on recording for Hogs of War*

However the real star of the show was once again Rik Mayall who provided both the narration for the movie war clips and voicing some of the pigs and giving some bad taunts to the player encouraging you to try and win the battle on multiplayer. Plus John Phillip Sousa's Liberty Bell Match was the main theme music for the entire game but you may have also heard this from the TV comedy series Monty Python and the Flying Circus. There was supposed to be a sequel in the works as of February 13, 2008, Infogrames announced Hogs of War 2 for DS, Wii, PS2 and PC. It was slated for release in April 2009 but is now presumed cancelled. During this period Infogrames was experiencing financial problems and was reincorporated as Atari, SA.

This was a big shame for fans and gamers like me who have been waiting for a sequel since 2000 but the chances on seeing a sequel in the future a very very slim especially since Rik Mayall isn't around. However Hogs of War was released on the PSN store for North America but there has still been no word of it released for UK/Euro PSN hopefully one day it'll released elsewhere for players to download on their PS3, PSP or even their PS Vita. I would highly recommend Hogs of War to anyone if they still own a PS1 or have an American PSN account go out and download this game.

Rik Mayall will never be forgotten when it comes to comedies perhaps later in the future other people will look to his work and inspiration on making people laugh.

E3 2014- EA and Ubisoft Press Conferences

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If you've missed my last blogs you can find it here- E3 2014- Microsoft Press Conference and E3 2014- SONY Press Conference and E3 2014- Nintendo Press Conference/Direct this is will be the last part of my E3 blog based on both EA and Ubisoft's Press Conference, both conferences only lasted for an hour but had a good line up on games from both them-

EA started off showing Star Wars Battlefront which is now being developed on next-gen consoles by DICE but however the team were talking about how good it will be and how well detailed they want it to for a Star Wars game. Dragon Age: Inquisition with a trailer with some breath-taking music in the background, BioWare also mentioned their next project on Mass Effect 4 and what fans want to see in the next instalment in the series. The Sims 4 was also mentioned with a ton of new features and content added in, including stories for each of the Sims in The Sims 4 alongside different types of emotions and type of person you want to make from a funny sim to a lazy sim.

As always there's always a Sports game that gets released every year on all systems with some new features and content added in. Fifa 15 was one of them since the series itself remains in the Top 10 Sales Charts for months after its launch release. Other sports titles were mentioned including-

  • PGA Tours
  • Madden NFL
  • UFC
  • NHL

The biggest highlight came from both Battlefield Hardline which did include a Beta which went live at E3 and likely after the show as well; but there was also some more information and some prototype gameplay of Mirror's Edge-

Some say it's a sequel to the first game which was released back in 2008 and others have said it could well be a reboot itself for PS4/Xbox One/PC but time will tell as soon there is even more information later by this year or even at next year's E3 maybe. EA has always been my least favourite press conference when it comes to E3 every year but however Ubisoft managed to pull off a good press conference but the disappointment from them was that there was still no mention of Beyond Good and Evil 2. The Rabbids made another return at E3 making it feel like a really short animated film and telling people in the audience to switch off their phones during the conference. Starting off the show was the opening glimpse of Far Cry 4 including its next villain who makes an appearance and kept saying "Stop the bus" over and over more information and gameplay was mentioned later at E3 including some footage at Sony's Press Conference. Sixth game in the series Just Dance 2015 was announced the gameplay retains the same as in the past Just Dance games where players follow the on-screen dancer to earn points. New to the series is the "Community Remix" mode where players dance to songs that have other players on the screen instead of the dancers. Modes from past games such as the "World Dancefloor" and the "Autodance" feature will appear in this game. Another game was also announced with Just Dance 2015 called Just Dance Now, an app that lets players play Just Dance anywhere after syncing up a device with the website on another screen connected with the internet.

Two trailers came up from both The Division and The Crew, but the biggest highlight had already came out of Microsoft's Press Conference but at Ubisofts Press Conference they showed off some more gameplay footage and what the multiplayer will have in Assassin's Creed Unity-

When I first saw the trailer from the Microsoft's Press Conference I was quite surprised where the series was going to head to next after Assassin's Creed 3 and 4 Black Flag if you've read my blog Is Assassin's Creed losing it's touch? Or is it building more ideas? the idea of the story being set during the French Revolution is for once a great idea but this does feel more like a multiplayer game like what they did with Assassin's Creed Brotherhood back in 2010 but so far it looks really impressive with it being on a next-gen console it does make me wonder where the series will go next after this.

There's been a few good and bad fitness games Ubisoft has been working on a new fitness game for Xbox One called Shape Up, the concept is simple working out is boring, so let’s make it fun. The idea is that gamers like to set and beat high scores, and if they’re working out while doing it they won’t know as long as it’s fun, the first demo of the game was a rhythm action offering with more than a bit of DDR to it, but the presentation has a very fun Katamari/Wario Ware slant to it that certainly jazzes up proceedings. I know that this next game was already mentioned before E3 but this next game was inspired by the written letters during the Great War during World War I and this is puzzle-adventure game made by the same team who brought games like Rayman Origins and Beyond Good and Evil-

The last time I've enjoyed a game from Ubisoft was Beyond Good and Evil HD back in 2011 and still waiting for the sequel since 2005, Valiant Hearts is something else it's not just the stunning 2D art style or the soundtrack but the story and gameplay really caught my attention especially it f it's a game based on the First World War, we've seen games in the past but all focusing on World War II but never many games on the First World War the only game I can think off that has done this idea around the same concept was Hogs of War (PS1/PC), Valiant Hearts is being released later at the end of this month on PSN/Xbox Live/Steam but I can tell that this game will win a few awards later at the end of the year for its art in a video game.

At the very end of the show Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege was announced for next-gen consoles like all other titles in the series, it will focus heavily on team play and realism. However there are major differences to older versions of the game, featuring a heavy multiplayer focus and destructible environments.

What games caught your attention from both EA and Ubisoft anything you're looking forward to for this year?

Let us know in the comments-

E3 2014- Nintendo Press Conference/Direct

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If you've missed my last blog you can find it here- E3 2014- Microsoft Press Conference and E3 2014- SONY Press Conference this is my third E3 blog which is based on Nintendo. We know that it wasn't going to be doing a press conference this year at E3 but instead they did their own E3 Direct Presentation live on various sites Nintendo, Youtube and GameSpot which only lasted for 47 minutes but there was a ton of more new information after the presentation but like Microsoft and Sony's it was all about games for the Wii U and yes there were a lot of surprises.

Starting off with the Press Conference all being animated based on the TV Comedy Robot Chicken including most of its Nintendo characters were all animated too reminding everyone that it's not an episode of the series. The first game to pop up was Super Smash Brothers for both Wii U and 3DS introducing a new character in the game which is Mii fighter, loved how it started off with Reggie fighting Iwata in a Smash Brothers match and explaining that the Mii fighter likely you can use your own Mii in battle unless Nintendo offers DCL or a QR Code to play as Iwata or Reggie if gamers want to play them in Smash Brothers. This will also be one of the first games to be compatible with new toys called amiibos - that contain NFC (Near Field Communication) chips. These can be used to store data about the player's progress and send the information to and from a Wii U through its controller. The firm said this will allow players to carry their customised settings and achievements to friend’s homes or even StreetPass meets if they can find somewhere to hook up a Wii U somewhere. Like Skylanders and Disney Infinity Nintendo plans to release the amiibos just in time before the Christmas Holidays and help Nintendo on the sales for both the 3DS and Wii U, Mario Kart 8 has already helped the sales for the Wii U from the last few weeks now.

I know that the Year of the Luigi ended not long ago but when people reacted when seeing a trailer on a new Yoshi game which was in fact Yoshi's Woolly World playing as Yoshi through a world made out of wool, like Kirby Epic Yarn this takes this to a whole new world for Nintendo. Some gamers have already claimed that this could well be the Year of the Yoshi; this will also have 2 player co-op by teaming up and various puzzles along the way. The art alone and the gameplay is one of the many reasons why you should pick up a Wii U just to play this game. However it might not be the Year of the Yoshi it could well be the Year of the Toad; Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker follows Toad who sets out on his own adventure, with it being a success and having the same ideas it had in Super Mario 3D World had it's fair to say a lot of gamers enjoyed the Toad levels and Nintendo have made the right move on making a game based on that idea.

Legend of Zelda was the star of the show for Nintendo at E3 this year and promising that the new open-world fantasy-themed Zelda game will mark a "clean break with the past" by letting players travel in the game wherever they want rather than forcing them to follow a set path and complete scenarios in a pre-determined order. Hyrule Warriors which is a battlefield-set title that unites the swordsman with characters from the Dynasty Warriors series but playing as your favourite Hyrule characters from Link, Zelda and Midna set to release on 26 September for US, 19th September for UK/Europe and 14th August for Japan.

Other games and news were announced for the Wii U including-

  • Mario Maker
  • Pokémon Alpha and Omega
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • Bayonetta 2 including the first Bayonetta added as well
  • Two more characters added to Super Smash Brothers- Palutena and Pac-Man

Splatoon does feel more like a kid's version of Call of Duty or even a good First-Person Shooter like Timesplitters or Goldeneye. Splatoon is a four-on-four multiplayer title in which gamers compete to cover as much of an arena in their colour of paint as possible this will also have online multiplayer meaning that playing games online on the Wii U will even be more fun for gamers out there. It does remind me of a mix of Super Mario Sunshine and de Blob when you are thinking about paint being used in games.

Last but not least Shigeru Miyamoto announces a new Star Fox for Wii U no gameplay footage was shown but Miyamoto did explain how the gameplay will work on the Wii U and a release date set for 2015 which is at least a year away from now likely more information will be mentioned later within the months. More announcements are on the way from Nintendo later by this week including some new titles and release dates on 3DS games, most sites and gamers have already claimed that Nintendo have pretty much won E3 this year.

What caught your eye from Nintendo at E3? Has this reason made you want to buy a Wii U now after the new announcements on games?

Let us know in the comments?

E3 2014- SONY Press Conference

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If you've missed my last blog you can find it here- E3 2014- Microsoft Press Conference this is part 2 of my E3 blog based on the Sony Press Conference. I did stay up around 2 am when it came to watching this live on my laptop through GameSpot. As the show started to kick off with a new trailer on Destiny including a PS4 release which will be released first before it's on other consoles and a bundle deal which is a white PS4, Destiny and a 30-Day Subscription for PSN Plus set to release on September 9th.

Like Microsoft's Press Conference it was all about games for the first half of their show all focusing for the PlayStation 4, quite a few surprises were announced including LittleBigPlanet 3 with new characters to help Sackboy on his nest adventure this is also compatible with user-created levels from LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2 meaning you can play those created levels over on LittleBigPlanet 3 on the PS4 and giving more tools to use when it comes to creating and sharing your own levels across the world through PSN. Another big surprise came from the mastermind Tim Schafer from Double Fine Productions who has brought some of the most memorable games like Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, the loudest cheers of the event with news that LucasArts classic 1998 game Grim Fandango was being recreated for both PS4 and PS Vita so it's likely it'll be a Cross-Buy game in the future.

Sony unveiled a curious and striking origami-like tunnel flying game called Entwined which is on the PSN right now for PS4 users but this will also get released on the PS3 and Vita as a Cross-Buy game later in the year. Entwined is made by a small graduate team imagine two origami dragons, or birds, one blue and one orange. Two souls in love but they can't be together, you must bring them together over the course of nine lifetimes, navigating increasingly difficult tunnel levels as you go. Control one dragon-bird-thing on one analogue stick, and the other on the right analogue stick, if you're successful, the two souls will merge and transform into a magnificent dragon. Indie games in general are now becoming more and more popular starting from PC and then appearing on home consoles and handhelds, the line-up of games of Indie games that are coming soon really do look impressive to look at making it feel more like art than gaming; UK-based Hello Games was widely praised for its promo of No Man's Sky a title involving a universe containing an infinite amount of planets. Giant Squid showed off a new title called Abzu an underwater-set follow up to its award-winning title Journey which won a few game of the year awards in 2012.

Bloodborne confirmed for the PS4 as well which is an action role-playing game from Demon's Souls and Dark Souls developer From Software and director Hidetaka Miyazaki. The fantasy dark setting really gives you an idea what to see in on a next-gen console and likely will have the same difficulty and gameplay from Demon's Souls and Dark Souls you can tell straight away that Bloodborne is going to be a huge seller for 2015 sales, hoping they'll be more information on this at Tokyo Game Show in the coming months. More games were also mentioned including-

  • Metal Gear Solid 5
  • Dead Island 2
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • Ratchet and Clank
  • Far Cry 4
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Batman Arkham Knight
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Let it Die

A quick mention of two new demos for Project Morpheus, Sony's virtual reality helmet was all but ignored during the press conference. Instead it focused on the North American launch of PS Now in July a service that will allow PS4s to play games made for older consoles through the internet. It added that the service would be extended to the PS3, PS Vita handheld and selected Sony TVs later in the year. A promotion for Powers an in-development detective TV series involving characters with superpowers could this be something like Heroes and then got cancelled after a Season 4 with no cliff-hanger or solid ending? A little disappointment that Sony didn't talk about or even mentioned some new PS Vita games there was however some release dates for them for games like Tales of Hearts R, Minecraft, Child of Light and Tales of Borderlands.

Saving the best to last Naughty Dog announces their next title on the PS4 which turns out to be Uncharted 4 taking place seven years after his last adventure, retired fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, is forced back into the world of thieves. With the stakes much more personal, Drake embarks on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. His greatest adventure will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he's willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves.

Ok yes a lot of people were wanting to see if The Last Guardian was going to show up at E3 this year but according some various sites and news from Sony they are just waiting for the right time to show The Last Guardian to the world and working some of the tweaks making it the perfect game just hope that it's still getting a PS3 release later in the future because the PS3 itself still has a great line-up of games this year and next year to look forward too including Persona 5 and Kingdom Hearts II.5 HD Remix.

What did you think of SONY's Press Conference this year? Anything you are looking forward to playing on your PS3/PS4/PS Vita?

Let us know in the comments-

E3 2014- Microsoft Press Conferance

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Well this E3 has been a very interesting one indeed from both today and yesterday, I will be posting a lot about both Press Conferences from Microsoft and Sony and of course Nintendo Direct too soon after, EA and Ubisoft are on the list too. But to start of let’s get started with the recap and thoughts on Microsoft. To start off Call of Duty Advanced Warfare opens up the show with a live demo of the game with it being both loud and crazy, with a hellish combat scene and enhanced futuristic soldiers who could jump dozens of feet into the air with a November release just in time for Holidays.

Sunset Overdrive caught my attention at last year’s E3 with it being made by Insomniac games that brought games like Spyro, Ratchet and Clank and the Resistance series all on the PlayStation. This is their first time releasing a game on the Xbox, what really shines about Sunset Overdrive that it had the inspiration of the art from Jet Set Radio, with a mix of the old Popeye cartoons and the BBC programme The Young Ones added in making this game one of the most insane games you'll see on the Xbox One and of course being released this year on October 28th.

More games and trailers were announced in the show including gameplay-

  • Rise of Tomb Raider
  • The Witcher 3
  • Phantom Dust
  • Below
  • Fable Legends
  • Crackdown (Reboot of the first game)

Another big surprise came from Project Spark, Conker the abusive, drunken squirrel created by Rare and the star of the cult classic Conker's Bad Fur Day. It has been nearly 10 years since Conker Live and Reloaded was released on Xbox back in June 2005, seeing him make an appearance was a big surprise indeed for gamers and fans of the series.

When everyone first saw the first few minutes of the next Halo game, everyone first thought it was a Halo 2 Anniversary and some thought it was Halo 5 itself, the new pre-rendered trailer footage of Halo 5 was shown to the audience at the firm's E3 press conference, developer 343 Studios was not yet ready to demo gameplay or confirm a launch date. The Master Chief Collection is the Halo series from 1-4 in 1080p on the Xbox One including the same multiplayer maps and matches that were in the original games will be making a return in the Master Chief Collection. Halo 2 however will be getting the same treatment as Halo Combat Evolved got when it was released in 2011 where you can stich back and forth with your controller from Classic to updated high-definition version of Halo 2, a nice idea for those who have played the series in back in 2004, not to mention a pre-order and a release date was announced for the Master Chief Collection which was November 11th, same date as Halo 2 was released 10 years ago.

Phil Spencer came on stage talking about the future of Xbox One but however it's whole show was really much about games and moving away from the Kinect and Xbox TV which Microsoft mentioned at last year's E3 which left a black eye from the whole event. More indie titles were announced including ID@Xbox is a program by Microsoft allowing independent video game developers to self-publish titles for the console, ideas like this has already been done before from the likes of Steam and Net Yaroze still a nice touch to mention indie games in the press conference with the likes of Drifter, Cuphead, FRU and Ori.

Developer Platinum Games and renowned Game Director Hideki Kamiya announced a new project for the Xbox One called Scalebound which transports you to a distant, hostile world. Face to face with fearsome creatures, including a formidable dragon and the bond you forge with this awesome predator will prove crucial to the survival of both worlds. This does feel like another knock-off title to Devil May Cry but inside with dragons set in a fantasy world but still a good idea from Hideki Kamiya himself and likely help the Japanese sales for the console when it's released this year in Japan. Overall the press conference was a lot better than last year's E3 which they mentioned TV and Kinect but the Xbox One could well now be trying to be more like a next-gen console like the PS4 but the question is can they sell more systems between now and the end of this year with the new announcements and games lined up this year?

Have any favourite moments from Microsoft or planning on buying an Xbox One sometime this year?

Let us know in the comments-

Why Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on iOS both a good and bad idea

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It's only been five years since Monster Hunter Freedom Unite was released for the PSP back in 2009 for UK/Europe and North America. Over in Japan Monster Hunter is huge and I mean huge, in 2008 Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G was released and had sold over 4 million copies since then. Elsewhere outside of Japan it's known as Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. For anyone who has played the Monster Hunter series before on either on the PlayStation 2 or the PSP, Freedom Unite is an expansion pack of the original Monster Hunter Freedom 2 (PSP) which was released back in 2007.

Capcom just recently announced two trailers this week and will be shown at E3 2014, Monster Hunter Ultimate 4 for the 3DS and Freedom Unite for iOS for both iPhone and iPad but quite likely it'll be released on Android tablets and phones later in the future-

There is no plot for the Monster Hunter series in general; you are mainly going on quests by hunting and killing monsters. You are sort of thinking of an online action Role-Playing like World of Warcraft but on the PSP and not using an actual keyboard for it. For the iOS you'll be using the touch-screen to move your character around using the analog stick on the left side, items in the bottom middle and weapons and stamina on the right side of the screen. The idea might be clever at first when you saw the trailer for this but depending on how sticky or stubby your fingers are using the touch screen might not respond to your movements or happening to wipe the screen once or twice to avoid your phone or tablet to not randomly automatic head somewhere else or the side of the screen doesn't respond or isn't working. If you have played the series before for the PlayStation 2 or on the PSP, you should have no problem on its controls; however if you have a save data of Monster Hunter Freedom 2 on your PSP you can carry over your save on to Freedom Unite. Unlike classic Capcom franchises like Mega Man and Resident Evil, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is an enjoyable Action-RPG with a frustrating difficulty lever and an unusual addition to the genre.

Whatever character class you plan on using if you do plan on playing this on iOS, the camera remains in third person and you can't go to the option screen and change the camera controls this was the main problem on the PSP version but this was easily ignored the more you dived into the game. I do like the idea of it having a target-camera option where you could lock-on monsters which can be useful if more than 3 monsters appear all at once. Yet another cool idea added in this version is the support for MFi controllers and seamless co-op multiplayer quests via Wi-Fi connection for up to four players, it's a shame that this wasn't added in the PSP version if you didn't had a PS3 and the app for AdHoc Party for playing PSP games online with other players by connecting your PSP with a USB cable to your PS3. If this was released for the PS Vita however the sales would pick for the handheld and most of the features used in the iOS and what they used in Ultimate 3 and 4 could be used in the PS Vita version if Capcom did announce another Monster Hunter game for it for that system. Yet another problem that may put off a few fans for the iOS is that the battery could be drained out very quickly especially when it comes to multiplayer with friends so you would likely have to be near a place to charge up your iPhone or iPad if you are at home or out in public.

Don't get me wrong the Monster Hunter series is one of those things like Marmite you either- ' Love it or Hate it' on a series of games. Some people will enjoy it a lot and some people would not be at all interested and find it too difficult to play on either the PSP or 3DS. It's very challenging if you want to take on monsters single handed without anyone helping you, but if you have friends who own this game it can be very addictive if you play with a group of friends or even meeting up somewhere in your area can easily spend a lot hours playing this.

Thoughts on the iOS version release? Do you still play Freedom Unite on your PSP or have friends that play the series when it comes to multiplayer?

Let us know in the comments-

One Year later in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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It's been almost a year since Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS for both North America and UK/Europe which was around the same week as E3 2013 was so this really was good time for Nintendo to release New Leaf it has worldwide sales of 7.38 million since it was first released in Japan back in November 2012.

I was pretty surprised that I've spent more than 83 hours on New Leaf and keeps making me want to come back to my own town, the funny part is that I've named my town Inaba which was from Persona 4 (PS2) and even changed the town theme to the Junes Theme if you've played Persona 4 that is you may get the reference. In New Leaf you are the Mayor of your own town and you can decide what you want to do in your town and plus create your own clothing designs and play with friends either local or online.

The day after it was launched in the UK there was even Animal Crossing Launch Event thanks to StreetPass Newcastle which had an event in Newcastle where a load of 3DS users would meet up and play multiplayer games or having a laugh, I was at an Anime meet as well during the day and yes everyone was talking about Animal Crossing. For a Launch Party a good 70 people who turned up at the event and there were a few tournaments going on including Bug Off and Biggest Fish competitions if you had Animal Crossing on you and plus they had a Mario Kart Wii tournament on the fastest time and a Super Smash Brothers tournament too.

Back in 2010 you can tell at E3 2010 when Animal Crossing was first announced to be released for the Nintendo 3DS you can tell straight away that this game is going to be huge when it comes to online multiplayer and living your mini life in your own little town. Like past Animal Crossing games you move into your own town and start making friends with your neighbours, like the 3DS version this time you get to be the mayor of your own town plus having the power to control the town and build even cooler stuff in your town including a café, street lights and even a tower. When I look back at New Leaf my own town itself has grown quite big and full of happy residents, had a few residents leave in the past but that only happens if you don't want to listen to someone in your town or when everyone else was playing the likes of Pokémon X and Y during releases many players left their towns abandon with weeds and dead flowers everywhere.

The online support is still going strong as ever where you can head to the post office to pick up a special present which happens once every 2-4 weeks so you may want to check sites like Facebook to know. The streetpass for New Leaf is another clever thing about it is if you get streetpass by another 3DS and they have a copy of the game, they can show off their home. If you want to visit a friend's town you can either do this online if you have good Wi-Fi or if you are out with a few friends can play local up 2-4 players where you can visit other towns or play some multiplayer games.

The only other game that is almost close to New Leaf is Tomodachi Life which is released this month for both North America and UK/Europe, taking the life of your own Mii on an island inhabited by various Miis. You can import from their 3DS, other devices, or QR codes, or create from scratch using the 3DS' camera or the in-game creation tools. You can be given their own voice, which is spoken in vocal synthesizer software, and a unique personality based on slider inputs given. Perform various actions, such as eating, trying on different outfits, falling in love with someone of the opposite sex, and doing many leisurely activities. As more Miis including yourself are introduced, many strange and curious interactions can occur between Miis, such as friendship, rivalry, bizarre musical numbers and more. There has already been a lot of complaints and a few bad comments from gamers recently about same-sex relationships in the game but however this still doesn't stop people from buying the game as we speak.

Are you still playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? Planning on buying Tomodachi Life this week?

Let us know in the comments-

Final Fantasy VIII Anniversary Retrospective

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With Final Fantasy VII became an immediate critical and commercial success across the world from 1997 it didn't stop Square (Square Enix) on making another Final Fantasy game sooner after which later became Final Fantasy VIII which was released back in 1999. Receiving positive reviews from critics and was commercially successful on sales making it the fastest-selling title of all time until Final Fantasy XIII was released on both PS3 and 360 back in 2010.

A lot of things had been improved when it comes to how much the graphics and animation that have been added in Final Fantasy VIII, if you compare this and VII for both on the PlayStation you can tell there's a big difference on graphics. From the beginning, Yoshinori Kitase knew he wanted a thematic combination of fantasy and realism. He aimed to include a cast of characters who appeared to be ordinary people. Character designer and battle visual director Tetsuya Nomura and art director Yusuke Naora strove to achieve this impression through the inclusion of realistically proportioned characters a departure from the deformed designs used in the previous title. When you compare this and Final Fantasy XV you can also see how far the 3D visuals have come since both games have a similar idea combining both fantasy and realism.

Story is based around a mercenary cadet called Squall who is with a group of mercenaries, who are part of an organization named SeeD; their main goal is to stop a sorceress from the future (named Ultimecia) from compressing time. Like past games that use the ATB (Active Time Battle) in VIII you can switch back and forth on which commands you want for each of your party members like Attack, Magic, and Items. Draw is a command is where you can draw magic from enemies unlike past games magic costs MP but in VIII magic like Fire, Cure or even Blizzard feel more like items once they are gone you would need to draw points which are distributed throughout the game's environments, or refining as items and cards. Spells are then stocked on characters inventory and are consumed one by one when used. GF (Guardian Force) is another command where you can use Summons against enemies but when summoning a GF a blue bar will appear replacing the ATB and will drain as soon one of your characters has summoned someone in battle like Shiva or Ifirit to do a devastating attack. This may sound a little similar to other JRPG's back around that may have used the same idea like Pokémon and Digimon when it comes to summoning a monster in battle against an enemy don't expect to see this idea go away at any time soon, in addition to gaining levels Guardian Forces earn Ability Points after battles, which are automatically allocated to special abilities that Guardian Forces can learn. When they have learned an ability, that ability becomes available for any character that junctions the GF or the character in their party. These abilities allow you to attack more efficiently, refine magic spells from items, receive stat bonuses upon levelling up, access shops remotely and use additional battle commands.

Not only the 3D visuals and story that made another perfect Final Fantasy game at the time, Nobuo Uematsu has once again composed another amazing soundtrack from the beautiful CGI opening to the battle theme music and fitting in the right music at a few emotional scenes throughout the story. Some of the music that was used in Final Fantasy VIII have appeared in various Final Fantasy concerts that have travelled around the world to places like Tokyo, London and Paris which have played tracks like "Liberi Fatali", "Don't Be Afraid", "Love Grows", and "The Man with the Machine Gun". In the 2004 Summer Olympics, the US synchronised swimming duo Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova were awarded bronze for their performance to music from Final Fantasy VIII-

After the release on the PlayStation it also got released on PC in 2000, 10 years later in 2009 it was released on the PSN store to download on PS3, PSP and PS Vita not to mentioned not long ago got a release on Steam worldwide on December 5th 2013. Like Final Fantasy VII this was yet another success on sales winning multiple awards including Best RPG during that year and also on the top ten lists of all-time favourite PS1 games claimed from websites and gamers alike. Could Square pull off another hat-trick a year later for Final Fantasy IX which was released in 2000? Square were really on the ball on making yet another classic Final Fantasy game.

Is this on your all-time favourite games list? Do you have a favourite moment in the game or a story to tell?

Let us know in the comments-

P.S: I would also like to thank you for taking the time to reading my 3rd Retrospective Blog and wanted to contribute to GameSpot Video Game History Month this has been fun and creative for me on writing up blogs on games that were released in the early and late 90's seeing how far gaming has come since then and how much of an impact has caused on the gaming world. If you liked my Final Fantasy VIII Anniversary Retrospective don't forget to check out my other contribute on-

Thanks for reading :D

Um Jammer Lammy 15th Anniversary Retrospective

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Back in 1997 PaRappa the Rapper was released for the PlayStation which was a rhythm video game published by Sony and developed by NaNaOn-Sha, it was a success on sales worldwide and even won a few awards for having some of the best music in a video game. Um Jammer Lammy was released in 1999 which was a follow up to PaRappa the Rapper, once again featuring the collaboration of music producer and game designer Masaya Matsuura and artist Rodney Alan Greenblat.

This follows the story of a left-handed guitarist called Lammy who is a shy lamb and has joined a rock band called MilkCan, alongside bassist and vocalist Katy Kat and drummer Ma-san. Although normally a nervous wreck, Lammy becomes much more confident once she has a guitar in hand and also confronting her fears in front of a crowd on stage.

This does follow on from the gameplay of PaRappa the Rapper, with a stronger focus on guitar playing. Each of the levels sees Lammy playing alongside a teacher, with play alternating between the teacher and Lammy. Symbols appear on a scrolling score at the top of the screen; with an icon depicting whose turn it is which feels more like a pattern. After the teacher sings a line and the player's controller vibrates, the player must hit the corresponding buttons to make Lammy play a response on her guitar. You can either follow the symbols exactly, or attempt to freestyle to earn some extra points and have your saved recorded gameplay on a memory card to watch.

This may take you at least over an hour or so to get through the main story but 2 player Co-op is added in to make the game more fun and feels like you are both in a band together. However like PaRappa the Rapper this still has the same 2D styled Anime when it comes to animation for both cutscenes and gameplay not saying there's something wrong with that but it does have some of the best visuals for a PlayStation game when it was released in 1999; even the soundtrack on its own is worth the purchase or to listen through some of the levels have some of the best music you'll hear in a long time-

Um Jammer Lammy wasn't only released on the PlayStation, it was also released in Arcades using a unique guitar controller so this may have given other companies the ideas and inspirations for later games or even games in the future if they have stumbled upon the arcade version of this in Japan or possibly somewhere else maybe. Since its release in 1999 it got some very positive feedback from gaming sites and magazines but since then there hasn't really been much of a sequel for Um Jammer Lammy, there was a sequel for PaRappa the Rapper 2 back in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 apart from that it has pretty been forgotten over the years and impossible to find a copy of it brand-new or even pre-owned but it finally caught the light of day after being re-released for PSN which you can buy and download on to your PS3, PSP or PS Vita.

If there ever was a sequel or even a reboot could you see Um Jammer Lammy using the same idea to what Guitar Hero and Rock Band has had in the past on gameplay style and buying the instruments including DLC? Or do you think it's better kept as it was to the original used in 1999? If you've played this game like me do you have a favourite level?

Let us know in the comments-

Movie Review- Persona 3 the Movie: Spring of Birth

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Back in 2007 Persona 3 was released for the PS2 and then again in 2010 with Persona 3 Portable for the PSP, this is one of my favourite games alongside Persona 4 as well. Both Persona 3 and 4 are pretty much the most popular games in the Persona franchise for its memorable characters and story, both games got their own Anime series and of course a Persona Concert which goes on tour every year in Japan due to the fact that the music used in Persona 3 and 4 do have some of the best music you'll hear in a long time.

Spring of Birth is the first instalment in the film series based on the game story of Persona 3, for those who have played the game like myself may notice a few little changes but don't make a huge impact in the movie; the animation that is used is just breath-taking to watch distributed by Aniplex this feels more you are watching nine episodes worth if it was just an Anime series. For those who know nothing about Persona 3 the story follows a bunch of terrible creatures lurk in the dark, preying on those who wander into the hidden hour that lies between one day and the next the Dark Hour. A secret school club known as SEES defends humanity from horrors and disasters while working to solve the mystery of the Dark Hour once and for all. Most of the voices actors who did the voicing for the Japanese version of Persona 3 make a comeback to the movie the only character that gets voiced is Makoto Yuki (Persona 3 Protagonist) who is voiced by Akira Ishida (Gaara- Naruto, Zexion- Kingdom Hearts) who does a great job in the movie.

The soundtrack makes a great touch leaving nostalgia moments and memorable themes throughout the movie, I would admit like in the game the first few minutes do drag on a little bit but after the first few minutes the story gets even better and better later on. Anyone who is familiar with the game knows that Persona 3 is full of teens putting gun-like objects to their heads and pulling the trigger. Of course these aren't actually guns but rather devices made to summon magical creatures called Personas. It still looks like they are blowing their brains out often complete with spiritual brain and skull fragments. So if this affect you and not played the game you should be warned you'll be seeing them a lot.

For a good 91 minutes Spring of Birth will lead you wanting more especially that most of us will be waiting for the second part to be released in Cinemas in Japan and then a few months later until it comes online with English subtitles, I do hope that this will get an English dub later in the future this is still highly worth watching if you've played the game or haven't experienced a JRPG classic.

This is how video game movies are supposed to be made either done in animation or live action.

5/5 (5 Star Rating)