The untimely death of Okami…

The original Okami was released back in 2005 just at the time when the PS2 was running out of steam and gamers were looking to move on to the next generation.  The timing of the release played an important part to the success of this game.  Commercially it failed and did not sell many copies around 600,000 both on Wii and PS2.

Critically, it was adored by all and remains a game with both iconic and cult status.  Most critics at the time rated it higher than Zelda: Twilight Princess.   I played this game from start to finish and it is one of the finest Action/Adventure games I have ever played.  Okami was not a commercial success and this forced the closure of Cloverfield studios.

Okami was later converted to the Wii by Capcom.  It kind of made sense as the paint brush mechanic would work well with the Wii remote and the demographic would run out and buy this game.  The Wii version enjoyed little success partly due to a quiet launch with no marketing campaign to back it up and partly it was lost on a casual audience who were content with Wii Sports, MarioKart and Wii Fit.

Not having learned their lesson with their past two failures; Capcom tried their luck with the Nintendo DS.  This was in development for roughly two years and again was released with little fan fare or marketing hype.  Secondly, to kill Okamiden’s chances of success even further the timing was completely off as the Nintendo 3DS was released a week later back in March 2011.  Granted that there are millions and millions of DS’s out there, together with 3DS being backwards compatible with the DS the timing was way off.  Maybe they should have held back and released a 3DS edition instead, we all know that the 3DS is starved of quality games at the moment and Okami would have shone brighter than others.

I feel sorry for Okami as the art direction, originality and gameplay mechanics should be experienced by all gamers.  Maybe a 3DS version would prove successful?

PSP Vita to be releases in Japan 2011 (why not)?

Back in early June 2011 at E3 Sony announced details for the PS Vita.  This is Sony’s successor to the original PSP introduced in 2005.  It boasts a 3 cell processor (similar to the PS3 which has 7), touch screen interface, 5inch screen, touch sensitive back panel and also, including the all important second analog stick.  Sony further announced that the PS Vita would be released in Japan December 2011.

This sounds daft to me.  Why you may ask?  At this current moment in time the PSP console is selling extremely well in Japan due to the many iterations of Monster Hunter which allows co-operative local play for up to four players.  The co-op feature is heavily used in Japan where gaming is more socially acceptable and played in public places such as Cafes.  The PSP, in Japan anyway, is in the best shape it has ever been where it is currently outselling the Nintendo 3DS and is constantly top of the hardware charts list in recent months.

Games that appeal to the Japanese hardcore such as Gundam, Arcane Slayer, Tactics Ogre, Dynasty Warriors and Final Fantasy Dissidia show that there is still a market for Japanese centric games which the PS3, 3DS and Wii are currently lacking.

Therefore, my suggestion to Sony would be to release in the US markets first then Europe where the original PSP is experiencing a downturn due to lack of developer support both first party and third party.  Secondly, consumer interest has peaked and the PSP is looking worse for wear as it is being superseded by newer technology such as mobile devices, tablets and of course the 3DS.

I think the Japanese market still has another year to run for the original PSP.  The PS Vita could suffer a similar fate to the PS3 whereas it was introduced too early and harmed its sales as the PS2 was still selling in high numbers.

Nintendo e3 2010

I made the ballsy move and purchased an IPAD. I fell in love with this device straightaway. I have owned various PC’s, MAC’s and portable touch screen devices over the years and I will try to justify what makes this essential and different. This is not just an oversized Iphone which many have stamped this with.

After streaming the Nintendo e3 I was left feeling elated. The past few years Nintendo have been dismissive of the hardcore gamers and chasing after the casual crowd. This year changed all that. There were no new franchises announced which is good and bad.

Nintendo unveiled the latest demo of Zelda skyward sword using the motion plus. Granted this didn’t look like nothing ground breaking but I am hopefully nonetheless. Also, Nintendo unveiled kirby’s epic yarn and confirmed that 2d gaming is truly back. Graphically Kirby looks amazing using fabric type textures. A remake of goldeneye by activation was also announced. I remain sceptical on this one and don’t they will be able to reinvigorate this title bearing in mind there are some great first person shooters currently out there.

The unveiling of the 3ds with no glasses required had people puzzled but post keynote the response was positive. Once people got a chance to experience it for themselves however the hype went sky high. I am not impressed with the appearance of the unit and in my eyes looks slightly ugly compared to the Nintendo dsi’s sleek lines. A bunch of games were announced for the system such as a remake of Zelda ocarina of time, pilotwings, final fantasy, dragon quest, metals gear snake eater among others. I am sure there will be a Mario game as well.

Overall Nintendo did well this time and won many more gamers who are looking for the next gen portable device.