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Nintendo rolls out amazing Thanksgiving weekend deals for the Wii U and 3DS

Everyone gearing up to stuff their faces this Thanksgiving weekend? Well, don’t eat too much, because you might want to venture outside at some point and take advantage of some deals Nintendo has coming up for the Wii U and 3DS. Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, laid everything all out on the dining room table with these words:

“This year, there is a dizzying amount of affordable Nintendo options for any holiday shopper looking to stock up on fun gifts for family and friends. And if there is ever a question of why shoppers should choose Wii U and Nintendo 3DS this holiday season, the answer is simple: Because it’s Nintendo.”

Can’t argue with that logic! Let’s see what plentiful bounty awaits us in the coming days:

Luigi 3DS Goodness – various outlets will have a SEXY Cobalt Blue Nintendo 3DS system that comes installed with one of my faves, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, for $169.99 on November 28th.

2DS For Cheap – Walmart is going to be selling the 3D-less 2DS for $99.96 on the 28th of November.

3DS XL Deal – Target will sell the 3DS XL for $149.99 on the BLACKEST OF FRIDAYS.

Digital Delights – there are character-themed discounts going on in the eShop on the 3DS and Wii U right now, which you can learn about here.

A Green Pack-InNintendo Land for the Wii U will come bundled with a Luigi Wii Remote Plus for $59.99 on December 2nd (which I need for my Salsa dancing on Wii Fit U).

Why wait a couple of more days for savings, though? Check out what Nintendo discounts you can enjoy RIGHT NOW:

A Turkey-Sized Bundle – gamers can pick up a Wii U with both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U on one jam-packed disc for $299.99.

Exercise For Free (Almost. Practically. Kind of.) – this one I have already taken advantage of: if you purchase a Wii Fit U Meter pedometer for $19.99, and download the Wii Fit U trial through the eShop, and then sync said pedometer to the game, you unlock it for free. This is only good until the end of January, so hop to it!

HD Wii Sports – players can download a demo of Wii Sports Club and play tennis or bowling (the only sports available at the moment) for a full day. Once the trial ends, gamers can purchase a Day Pass for $1.99 to play any available sport for a day (which will include baseball, boxing, and golf in the coming months) or spend $9.99 on each sport they desire to keep it forever.

More information on Nintendo is all yours for the taking here. Anyone hungry for these great, upcoming deals?

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PS4 Day 2: Assassin’s Creed and DCUO

We’re two days into the launch of the PS4 with lots more to talk about.  These aren’t full reviews — just a quick synopsis of our experience with a smidgin of impressions.  The images used for these games were taken with the screenshot sharing feature.  The quality on them isn’t great, but it’s nice to finally be able to take pictures without having to use a third-party device.

assassins-creed-black-flag-ps4

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

This might sound crazy, but this is the first Assassin’s Creed game I have ever played.  I’ve watched Graev play all of them, and I knew exactly what to expect, but I wasn’t quite ready for how awesome the free-run and acrobatic movement felt.  The high frames per second and gorgeous graphics made my first hands-on experience with AC really quite something.

I love pirates.  I live for this setting.  If there’s one setting I may love more than medieval fantasy it’s Pirates!  Black Flag captures everything I love about the setting and then some.  I talk all the time about being able to control my own ship, and Black Flag does not disappoint.  I love being able to sail around.

I’m not going to spoil anything, but the story in the previous AC games looked really crummy.  So much so that I almost didn’t pick this one up. Ubisoft takes the story in a much more believable, interesting direction.  Expect my full review to come when I’ve logged significantly more hours into the game.

dcuo-ps4

DC Universe Online

Years ago I played DC Universe Online for the PC, and along with Graev and several of our friends we reached the max level and completed everything there was to do in the game at that time.  When we stopped playing it was never because the game did anything wrong — We simply ran out of things to do.  Years later, the game is free to play with lots of microtransactions.  I can’t say for certain how the F2P model has improved or harmed the game, but I know I’ve been able to play everything I can remember without spending a dime.

The PS4 version is great.  I feel like the controls are perfect, and perhaps even better than the PC version.  I remember thinking that DCUO was always meant to be a console game with this inherent sense of combo button presses and beat’em up nature.  Using the new DualShock 4 controller, I never felt wanting for a keyboard or mouse.

I think they did a nice job upgrading the visuals.  Everything looks high-res, and load times are quick.  I haven’t experienced any slowdown or performance issues.

If you just got a PS4, or heck even if you’re still gaming on the PS4, it can’t hurt to give DCUO a try.  I think the potential for MMOs on consoles is quickly catching up the PCs.

Wind Waker: The Musical Is Insanely Catchy

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Actually, Ganon being lactose intolerant would explain all the world-conquering rage. Life without cheese must be hard.

As you might have guessed, indeed it’s Random Encounters that is back once more with a lovely performance, this time based on Wind Waker. It’s pretty much par for the course as far as Random Encounters vids go—it’s fun, catchy, and filled to the brim with references. Definitely give it a listen.

“Legends of Zelda” – Tales of the Wind Waker [Random Encounters@YouTube]

Questions? Comments? Contact the author of this post at andras-AT-kotaku-DOT-com.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.S

Look at the detail on that thing. I can already see it fus ro dah-ing me from across the room.

This absolutely magnificent statue of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s dragon-slaying protagonist (which, as some observant readers might notice, is the same one Gaming Heads made available for pre-order back in March) was recently put up for sale by purveyor of all things humorous and geeky, ThinkGeek, at a price of $299. That’s quite the price tag, you might think. But if you’re into Skyrim and collectible figures, it’s totally worth it. Here’s what you get for the price:

  • Collectible Skyrim Dragonborn statue
  • 1/6 scale
  • Dressed in detailed and authentic hand-tailored fabrics
  • High-quality statue for display and collection
  • Edition size: 1000
  • Includes a certificate of authenticity
  • Materials: Poly-stone, hand-painted
  • Dimensions: 16″ tall

I presume the certificate contains written proof of how incredibly badass this statue is. Here’s a few photos for you to marvel at:

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Best Dragonborn Statue? Best Dragonborn Statue.

Skyrim Dragonborn Statue [ThinkGeek]

Questions? Comments? Contact the author of this post at andras-AT-kotaku-DOT-com.

Assassin’s Creed Pirates boards mobile devices on December 5

Ubisoft has announced a new mobile based addition to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed Pirates will be available on December 5 for iOS and Android, as well as through Google Play and on the Amazon App Store for $5.

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In Assassin’s Creed Pirates, players will explore the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy as Alonzo Batilla, a young and ambitious captain. Players can manage their crew, upgrade their ship, recruit new crew members, and engage in real-time naval battles during an epic quest for legendary treasure.

Check out the announcement trailer below to learn more about Alonzo Batilla and his hunt through the Caribbean to claim La Buse’s renowned treasure.

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PS4 Launch Day Game Roundup

We spent most of the morning setting up the system and working through general placement logistics. It’s a real mess up here and with the Xbox One due out soon it’s only getting worse. I’d show you a picture but I doubt Keen would ever own up to this cord jungle.

After the initial patching and mass downloading of free stuff we decided to check out some of the launch exclusives and share some quick impressions before we eventually get to reviewing.

Knack-PS4

Knack

This game is getting pretty badly panned across the board but Keen and I don’t quite share that sentiment. I mean, sure, it’s nothing mind blowing but it is enjoyable all the same. We put in several hours of the co-op and were enjoying ourselves the whole time.

It’s part platformer, though only lightly, but mostly action-brawler. You run around levels as the titular character and bash on bad guys while collecting various artifact pieces that increase your size. It’s actually pretty neat to see the character grow over time and completely decimate foes that earlier were giving you grief. So far it seems to be pretty linear but there are a few secret areas along the way for you to collect. In co-op mode the second player plays as a robot version of Knack and can fight alongside and even heal you. It’s all on one screen and the camera follows player 1 which means P2 has to keep pace or get left behind. It all works out pretty well, although Keen screamed at a few of his off-screen deaths.

Really my only complaint about the game is it’s take on difficulty. Being the typical fun-hater than I am, I put it on hard from the get-go. Unfortunately the game seems to go for the whole pseudo-difficulty of just making everything that hits you take all of your life. It can be a little frustrating, especially with no block, and having to re-do segments several times due to cheap deaths can make your co-op partner rage. Or maybe that’s just my experience.

Killzone-Shadow-Fall-PS4

Killzone: Shadowfall

I played the first two games and the PSP game but I haven’t touched the series since then. Having missed out on 3 and the vita game I have no idea what is currently going on story-wise in the game. Something about the Helghast’s planet getting made uninhabitable by the Vektans so now they have to share Vekta. I need to hit a wiki page or something.

Anyway,  this evening I played through the first few segments and I’m really enjoying it so far despite the confusing narrative. The game looks absolutely fantastic and runs very smooth. It definitely makes me excited to see what the system will be capable of down the road. There are a lot of really neat lighting and visual effects.

In the first main level you initially have to sneak in with just a knife and take out guys with stealth all while avoiding cameras, etc. You also get a handy little echo-location type device which can spot enemies through walls, but it will emit a large sound and alert enemies if you activate it for too long.  One cool thing you can do is jump onto a guy from above, stab him in the neck, and then throw your knife at another guy in your field of view. It’s very reminiscent of the kind of thing you could pull off in FarCry 3. The first gun I got was a really awesome combo weapons. The first configuration was some kind of automatic weapon that shoots little blue things and the second form turns it into a long range rifle that charges up and releases a powerful shot.

Probably the coolest thing I’ve seen so far is the little drone that follows you around. It can do basic stuff like hacking terminals for you but it can also order it to kill enemies, stun them, defend you, and create a zipline. The last one is actually pretty awesome. If you need to get access to an area below you then you can order it to shoot a zipline which you can slide down. The drone, which I think is actually called an OWL or something, can also revive you if you die. Provided you have adrenaline or something.

More To Come

We’re also going to be trying out CoD: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag this weekend and we will be sure to write up our impressions of them. Since the PS4 can stream straight out of the box we might even look into doing that as well, but so far our internet connection hasn’t been very cooperative. I think Keen also has plans to try out DC Universe and some other free-to-play titles as well.

It’s been a pretty smooth launch so far and we made it through the whole day without bricking our system. Take that .4% failure rate!

Watch Us Play Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was released last week in Japan. As we’ve noted before, Lightning Returns is a massive departure from the previous games in the XIII series with fast-paced action and an open world to explore. But how does it work in action? Check out our video to find out.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was released on November 21, 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Japan. It will be released in North America on February 11, 2014, and in Europe on February 14, 2014.

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

Sorry, Japanese pop stars. Tonight, you were defeated. You had a worthy adversary. But you were no match in a ridiculous cute battle with Lady Gaga.

In English, “kawaii” is typically translated as “cute,” but abroad, it’s become shorthand for teeth-hurtlingly adorable anime, manga, and video game characters, as well as ridiculously colorful fashion. (In its native Japanese, the word can also have more of a muted nuance—such as “precious.”) Kawaii is the type of cute Lady Gaga is drawing from for this get-up.

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

And tonight, when Lady Gaga, who’s a big Japanophile, appeared on Japanese music show M Station, she was kawaii’d out of her mind, with her big-eyed anime make-up she’s worn in the past and her Japan inspired outfit.

Appearing on the same show was Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who is noted for her ridiculous fashion and ridiculous music videos. Currently, she’s the crown princess of kawaii.

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

However, next to Lady Gaga, she seemed somewhat tame!

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

“Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was defeated by Lady Gaga,” wrote one Twitter user. There’s already a thread on 2ch, Japan’s largest forum, in which Gaga’s “overwhelming victory” is being heralded.

Lady Gaga Just Out-Cuted Japan

Twitter is buzzing with Japanese fans calling Lady Gaga’s M Station performance and appearance “incredible.”

ミュージックステーション 3時間スペシャル [2ch]

きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ、レディー・ガガに食われる [2ch]

Photos: ALIFE511, LadyGagaJapan, TheRaglan, Kyokachan69, ALIFE511

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond.

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

Namechecking Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano? Running a StarCraft II team? Zhang Jingna is not your typical fashion photographer.

Zhang (AKA “zemotion“) is one of the most talented young photographers in the world, shooting photos for Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and Photo Vogue as well as Mercedes Benz, Montblanc, and Lancôme, among many others.

Along with Ready at Dawn concept artist Tobias “tobiee” Kwan, Zhang began Motherland Chronicles earlier this year. It’s an artbook project (the book hits in summer 2014), but Zhang and Kwan are working through the project in the most public way possible: Each week, they upload their next Motherland works online with Kwan contributing a painting and Zhang contributing a photo.

With Motherland Chronicles, Zhang hoped to explore the things she loved as a child: anime, manga, and Japanese fantasy art. For her photos, she draws classical painterly art as well as Japanese artist like Jun Suemi, Toshiaki Kato, Ayami Kojima, and the aforementioned Amano. Throughout her work, you can even see visual references to manga collective Clamp.

The results are photos that look like traditional paintings, but are grounded in Japanese fantasy, whether that’s anime, manga, or video games.

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

As you can see, Zhang has collaborated with cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao (above) on the series.

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

“I started shooting for Harper’s Bazaar Singapore when I was 20,” says Zhang. “But once that started, I became so busy doing commercial work, I never had time to do the things I used to like as a teenager anymore.”

As with most in her generation, Zhang grew up playing games. Unlike most gamers, she also used to have her own semi-pro StarCraft II team, called Infinity Seven, which Zhang says disbanded earlier this month. For Zhang, managing the team, working as a professional photographer, and doing her Motherland Chronicles side-project was stretching her too thin.

“I picked up StarCraft II casually in the beginning, because of an ex,” she says. After that relationship ended, she kept playing. “Made a clan and then that turned into a team,” she recalls. “Good times.”

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

Where Fashion Meets Japanese Fantasy and StarCraft II

Besides her day job shooting ads and fashion layouts, Motherland Chronicles isn’t only what occupies Zhang’s free time, but it’s also a tribute to what inspired her as she was coming of age. “In part,” she adds, “[it's also] a reminder to others about personal work, the things they used to love and shouldn’t forget.”

You can see more of Zhang’s work on her official site below as well as on the Motherland Chronicles site.

Zhang Jingna [Official Site]

Motherland Chronicles [Official Site]

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Anime 2013 Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Anime 2013 Holiday Buyer’s GuideS

Have you got an anime fan in your life and have no idea what to get him or her for Christmas? Don’t worry. From series on Blu-ray and streaming subscriptions to figures and jewelry, there is plenty out there awaiting your selection—so much so that a few tips might be in order.

So here are some DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to shopping for an anime fan, courtesy of Kotaku East.

DONT worry if the current favorite anime of the person you are buying for isn’t on DVD or Blu-ray yet. Even these days it still takes months for a popular anime to see a Blu-ray/DVD release in the West. There are other options.

DONT buy bootleg DVDs/Blu-rays from Hong Kong or Singapore. Bootleg anime is often a total crapshoot. Sometimes the quality is great, but often it has just been taped off of Japanese TV. Moreover, the subtitles can range from perfect to unintelligible, and you’ll never know which it is until you’ve purchased it and watched it for yourself.

DO buy a Crunchyroll account. Crunchyroll is a video streaming site like Hulu or Netflix—but for anime only. Moreover, Crunchyroll releases its anime fully subtitled in English—and usually the day that it airs in Japan. While there are other anime streaming services, Crunchyroll offers the widest selection of new anime each season. And though there is a free version of Crunchyroll, a paid account gets new episodes a week earlier and in HD quality for as low as $6.95 a month. If your anime fan already has a Crunchyroll account, consider a Funimation account or a Hulu Plus account. Both services have an impressive anime back catalog that’s more than enough to keep any anime fan interested.

And if you are looking for anime to recommended be watched with this gift of streaming anime, Kotaku East has you covered.

DO share your own favorites. If you are an anime fan yourself, giving an anime you have enjoyed (but that the person you’re buying for hasn’t seen yet) is always a good bet. While he or she may not enjoy it quite as much as you did, it’s always great to share something you love. And what’s more fun than having a friendly “argument” about the pros and cons of your favorite anime.

DONT buy something at random just because it’s “anime.” There is a lot of anime out there ranging across every genre you can think of—fantasy, sci-fi, romance, comedy, and slice-of-life, among many others. In fact, there are 49 new anime airing right now. Buying an anime series, figure, or other accessory because it’s anime and he or she “likes that anime stuff” is also a bad plan. So be sure to ask the anime fan on your shopping list for the names of his or her favorite series if you choose to go the merchandise route for a gift.

DO gauge how the one you’re shopping for presents his or her anime fandom to the rest of the world. If his or her room is filled with wall scrolls (cloth posters) and figures, then it is safe to buy those. If no such “evidence” exists, and you still want to buy anime-related merchandise, it’s better to buy something more discreet like a ring or necklace. Once you have an idea what you are looking for, hit up a site like JBOX (which is filled to the brim with every anime accessory you can imagine).

DONT be afraid to buy small. A keychain or cell phone accessory is often as welcome as a several hundred dollar statue.

DO buy something Studio Ghibli related. If for some reason you can’t ask that “favorites” question of your anime fan, getting something Studio Ghibli is almost always a safe bet. There really are very few anime fans out there who hate Studio Ghibli’s amazing films.

DO consider buying manga. Many anime are based on Japanese comic books (called “manga”). Often, these manga are different in how they tell the story and/or continue the story past the point where the anime ended. These days many of the most popular manga get an English language release and can be found anywhere from Amazon to Barnes & Noble.

Have your own tips for shopping for an anime fan? Feel free to drop your own suggestions down below.

(Anime-style Kotaku-tan Image Courtesy of Kotaku Japan and ねこっち.)

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

To contact the author of this post, write to BiggestinJapan@gmail.com or find him on Twitter @BiggestinJapan.