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Heroes of Ruin is an ambitious title which takes on a challenge few have attempted and even fewer have had any significant success at – taking a Nintendo console online for a compelling multi-player experience. While this action RPG can be played offline (important for a handheld console of course), there is very firm encouragement for players to join the online component, with the game defaulting to this mode from the very beginning. It is admirable that developer n-Space has attempted to bring Nintendo gamers a decent online gaming experience, being the first (hopefully of many) 3DS game to incorporate in-game voice chat – a feature which has been sorely lacking from the huge library of DS and Wii titles. 

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The Pokémon series of games has flourished for over a decade, with several diversions from the main path which have brought mixed success. Slap the name Pokémon onto a game and as long as you have adorable creatures which have both young and old chasing after them you will have a reasonable chance of selling a truckload irrespective of how the game plays.

One genre which the franchise has yet to dabble in is turn-based strategy, and the surprise here surely is how long it has taken rather than the fact that it has happened. Pokémon are a perfect pairing for a turn-based strategy game, but does Pokémon Conquest live up to the potential?

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The 3DS makes use for QR codes for sharing Miis and for special features in supported games. Mario Tennis Open (reviewed here) released in New Zealand today and EB Games have an exclusive QR code which allows you to unlock the Black Yoshi costume in the game by taking your 3DS and Mario Tennis Open into an EB Games store and scanning the code. In other regions there have been various promotions and activities to allow the unlocking of other Yoshi colours – no further such details are available in New Zealand yet. 

Available “for a limited time only”, head down to your local EB Games store now to unlock this character costume!

Blackyoshi

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Mario Tennis is back! A long seven years after the excellent Mario Power Tennis was released on the GameCube, the memories are finally rekindled but this time on the small screen. With Wii Sports tennis being the signature title for Wii, there were hopes that this would eventually lead into a Mario tennis title for Wii. Sadly however, the New Play Control! port of Mario Power Tennis was the closest we ever got, and with Wii U on the horizon it is virtually impossible that a full-blown title would ever make it to Wii.

Camelot having developed all the titles in the Mario Tennis series, and Mario Tennis Open looks and feels a lot like Mario Power Tennis. Obviously this time the screen is much smaller and a little more 3D, but the vibrant graphics style looks quite stunning on the 3DS.

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NintendologoE3

Nintendo has made it clear that it is taking E3 2012 seriously, offering interested gamers the chance to get the latest info from LA via the web, YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter. In a press release, it was announced that:

“Nintendo will be using a mix of online, broadcast and social platforms to provide a steady stream of breaking news and announcements during the video game industry’s biggest annual trade show”.
 
“We don’t want anyone to miss the energy and excitement of this year’s E3 Expo,” said Cindy Gordon, Nintendo of America’s vice president of Corporate Affairs. “By offering different ways to tune in and follow all the Nintendo news, we aim to make fans all over the world feel like they’re right there with us at the show.”

The hub on the web is located at http://e3.nintendo.com, where there will be a live stream of the proceedings (no information about geographical restrictions announced). The US will have access to live TV broadcasts on the Spike TV and MTV2 networks commercial-free, while there will also be updates posted on YouTube, FaceBook, and Twitter. All this should make it easier for New Zealanders to follow the news when E3 kicks off in a couple of weeks.

via Gaming Examiner

After posting their first ever recorded annual loss last month, Nintendo have announced price cuts for the DSi and DSi XL from May 20. The company’s loss was partly blamed on a stronger Yen compared to the Euro, as well as disappointing 3DS sales – the price of which will remain unchanged at an SRP of $169.99 USD (already down from the original launch price of $249.99 USD).

The DSi will fall from SRP $149 USD to $99 USD, while the XL version will cost $129 USD down from $169 USD. EB Games NZ sells the DSi and XL currently for $259 and $319 respectively, so if the same price cuts were to be proportionally applied to our region the new RRPs would be approximately $169 and $249. No official word on whether there will be any price cuts in New Zealand, but unlike the US, retailers here don’t seem to be moving a lot of the stock that they already have on hand, at least from what I see from local store shelves.

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I’m not one to over-romanticise old Nintendo properties, but I can’t help but notice when there’s fan-demand for a revival, and “a new Kid Icarus” is something that I’ve heard time and again. A revival of this magnitude is also a tricky stretch, since the genre that the original fell in to is (in this case, old-school 2D platformer), best case scenario, very different to how it was then. Kid Icarus makes two significant leaps, from home console to portable; from 2D to stereoscopic 3D, from 8-bit to ‘lots of bits’…

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Nintendo 3DS banner

A new system update for the 3DS offers some ground-breaking features which will make a dramatic improvement to the end user experience. The latest update introduces a folder system which will please prolific Nintendo eShoppers who have their home screen cluttered with an array of difficult to arrange software titles. Of much greater interest however is something which Nintendo consoles have been seriously lacking for far too long in an online world – the ability to deliver game updates via online download.

Remember back to the launch of the Wii, a console which featured a web-browser, the ability to send email style messages, online gaming, and even the ability to voice chat. Patching serious bugs by online update however was something which the console could never perform; nor has this since been remedied by a system update. It led to the early bugged copies of Super Paper Mario needing to be physically replaced by Nintendo for affected users.

Mario Kart 7 is the first game to have a patch applied, and as with all games with an online component the update is a mandatory requirement for anyone wishing to log on to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Nintendo terms the patch “update data”, and “resolves shortcut exploits” in Mario Kart 7.

3dsaquablue

Owners of an Aqua Blue 3DS will soon be belong to a select group of individuals as Nintendo has announced that production of this colour variant will soon cease and be replaced by the new Cobalt Blue already available in Japan and expected to drop soon in the US. This will join the Midnight Purple colour option which is set to release alongside Mario Tennis Open later this month.

Neither colour option has been announced in our region yet so it’s anyone’s guess if and when we will get new colour options on our shores. Of course rather than new colour options, many are already thinking ahead to the inevitable redesign of the console. That falls purely into the realm of speculation for now though, with Nintendo tight-lipped on any such talk.