Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Platypus


Often used to sell an otherwise bad game, gimmicks make gamers wary, and this one has a blatant gimmick: everything is made of clay. Platypus isn't terrible, but it's nothing spectacular, either.

The visuals might appear bright and welcoming, but Platypus is a deceptively challenging game. It's a side-scrolling shoot-em-up in which the player is assaulted by various types of enemies, each with their own attack patterns. Aiding in the annihilation of enemy crafts are weapon upgrades, which are obtainable by destroying every ship in special orange formations. These drop a star, which cycles through the various weapon types when shot. 

The weapon upgrade system is the game's most unique feature, even though the upgrades themselves are uninspired rehashes. The yellow star is the obligatory spread shot; the blue star is rapid fire; the green a wave of energy which is capable of negating enemy fire, but utterly useless against anything that doesn't die in one shot; red shoots rockets which are great at tearing through larger enemies; and finally the green, only available in the final level, is lighting, which pierces through everything directly in a straight line. There is also an orbital powerup, which effectively doubles the ship's firepower, and a crown, which doubles score. Both of these will last as long as the player can avoid being hit.

http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/417/platypusscreen02.jpg


In most shooters, an upgraded weapon lasts as long the player does, and once a life is lost, it's back to the pea-shooter. In Platypus, the duration of an upgrade is marked by a timer in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, with each star adding 20 seconds. This system is perfect for a newcomer to the genre, because they're not punished for dying, and because orbitals and score doublers remain until the player dies, skilled play is also rewarded. There are many instances throughout the game where the player is forced to use a certain weapon, and while it may be the best tool for the job in each instance, it takes the element of personal choice away and makes the experience feel a bit jagged.

Platypus's main mode spans 6 levels, each consisting of 4 areas and a boss fight. The screen does get fairly crowded as the game goes on, and it's easy to lose track of the tiny enemy bullets (I was often hit by a bullet partially concealed by my own stream of fire). Players are given 5 lives to begin with, and two additional credits. These can be used to immediately respawn with 5 more lives, and with one being awarded after each level's completion, a game over is unlikely. Most of the game is spent dodging and shooting, but there is one area consisting of nothing but floating mines in a narrow cave, which, if shot, explode into a shower of bullets. This section serves to break up the monotony, and the game could have used more like it. 

http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/231204-platypus-psp-screenshot-shoot-rockets-at-the-motor-trails.png

Speaking of monotony, boss fights are a battle against fatigue. Upgrades are a must, as the default weapon does next to nothing to the massive enemy crafts. Instead of satisfaction, players are granted only relief once the fight is finally over. Each one feels more like a marathon instead of an intense battle, largely due to the bland attack patterns, which change very little, if at all, as their hp depletes.

Additional modes include simultaneous co-op play, which can't be said for many other shooters, and a survival mode, in which the goal is to last for as long as possible on a single life. It gets pretty intense pretty quickly, and is arguably more enjoyable than much of the rest of the game. 

Platypus has little to offer to shoot-em-up veterans, but younger gamers and those new to the genre might be less critical of it. 

Find Platypus on ebay | Amazon

Released: 2006-11-14
Publisher: MumboJumbo
Developer: Idigicon

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium


These days, exclusive portable fighting games are few and far between as most are virtually identical ports of their console counterparts. There have been original IPs that attempted to be unique handheld fighters but are comparatively mediocre (I'm looking at you, Power Quest). It should come as no surprise that the best handheld fighters are based on already-established series, and SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color is home to quite a few. SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is a prime example of a handheld fighter done right.


Before handhelds were capable of console-quality fighters, simplified versions of popular franchises were attempted. Killer Instinct on the Game Boy is one example which, while not terrible by any means, just doesn't compare to its console counterparts. If it isn't evident from the above screenshot, Match of the Millennium is its own game, featuring chibi versions of characters from Capcom's Street Fighter and Darkstalkers series, and pits them against fighters from a handful of SNK series, including The King of Fighters and Samurai Showdown.

Despite limits in the visual department (the NGPC lies somewhere in between the GBC and GBA in terms of hardware, and the chibi style looks great anyway), the gameplay is fluid and has a level of depth that should satisfy any fighting fan. Each character's play-style remains in tact, and there are plenty of ways to string together their many attacks. A big part of the game's fluidity can be credited to the handheld's excellent 8-way micro-switched thumb stick, which won't reduce a thumb to a bloody stump after repeated half-circle motions.


The Match of the Millennium is packed with a surprising amount of content for a fighter, let alone a portable one. The meat of the game lies in the fighting of course, and the main tourney mode can be played through in standard 1v1 format, as well tag-team and 3v3 team fights. The victor of 1v1 is the first to win two rounds of a fight, tag-team is one round with the ability to switch between characters on the fly (though I couldn't figure out how to do this myself, the AI took full advantage of it), and 3v3 team fights have the player select the order in which to send out their fighters against the opposing team, and heals a portion of the current fighter's hp after a win. Players can also choose the way in which the super gauge is filled, from Average (Street Fighter), Counter (King of Fighters) or Rush (Darkstalkers) modes.

While fighters aren't typically played for the plot, it's worth touching upon briefly. M. Bison and Geese are up to no good, making trouble in the fighting neighborhood. They're taking fighters and either using mind-control or cloning technology to create ultimate killing machines, and it is up to the player to put a stop to it. Fights leading up to the villainous duo become increasingly more challenging, and the final fight with either Orochi Iori or Evil Ryu is likely to elicit more than a few expletives. Thankfully, continues are unlimited.


In addition to a meaty tourney mode, practice, and player vs player link-cable fighting, Olympic Mode contains a variety of mini-games and challenges to further test players' skills. Survival is a gauntlet of 100 back to back fights, recovering a portion of health after each. Time Attack tests how quickly the player can defeat 5 enemies, and First Blast is 10 rounds of sudden death, where the first to land a blow wins, rewarding one point for a win and zero for a loss. These challenges can be played either with SNK or Capcom fighters, but there are also mini-games, which vary depending on the side chosen. Under the SNK section are Targets and Blade Arts. Targets has the player take control of Metal Slug's Marco, shooting various alien pods as they fly in from 8 directions, and Blade Arts has Samurai Showdown's Jubei slicing and dicing strawmen as they appear in one of 4 directions. On the Capcom side, Ghost Trick consists of jumping across gaps, collecting treasure as Arthur from Ghouls and Ghosts while avoiding the Red Arremer enemy, and Cat Walk plays like a simplified Dance Dance Revolution, requiring precisely-timed A, B, and directional presses to the beat of 6 excellent chiptune tracks as Felicia executes the moves.


The game's only glaring flaw is the inability to return to the main menu during a fight. The only way to start over is to turn the system off and on or to lose the fight. Even so, SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium is sure to keep any fighting fan engaged with its fluid gameplay, various modes, challenges, mini-games, and 26-character roster.

Find SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millenium on ebay | Amazon

Released: 1999-12-22
Publisher: SNK
Developer: SNK 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Developer Could Single-handedly Bring Life to the Vita


With all the coverage of the recent April 2013 Nintendo Direct's 3DS announcements, somebody needs to talk about the Vita. After all, the Vita is ignored even by Sony themselves, so I'll give it the attention it may or may not deserve. We all know the Vita has failed to compete with both smart phones and the 3DS due to a lack of software, but it seems one developer is out to change this.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade was a 2009 international release on the Wii and was arguably one of the best games released for the system. However, this game had a heavy emphasis on Japanese culture and it lacked any form of marketing in the US and as a result the game failed to not only sell, but even catch any attention of the major video game journalism websites. Muramasa was the spiritual successor to a very similar game developed by the same studio and got a little bit more attention, Odin Sphere, a 2007 Playstation 2 release. Both games are 2D side-scrolling action RPGs with fluid combat and gorgeous hand drawn visuals. Now it seems the developer, Vanillaware, has pledged its generous support of the Vita by developing an HD remake of Muramasa, subtitled Rebirth, as well as a brand new game that will also be available for PS3, Dragon's Crown.


If you're unhappy that you missed Code of Princess on 3DS, Dragon's Crown has got you covered.
In times when a console has no first-party support, it needs decent third-party support to survive. With two great new full-fledged RPGs, Muramasa having at least 20 hours of gameplay from my experience, Vanillaware could very easily be keeping the Vita alive all by themselves. If you are a Vita owner, be sure to send a heartfelt thank you letter to the awesome folks at Vanillaware.

Oh yeah, and if you don't like niche Japanese games, sorry, but the Vita just is not for you at this point.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Vita - Sony's Poor Abandoned Child

When the Vita was announced the hardware was very impressive. A year later, it is still very impressive. However like a creative child born into a family of lawyers, it was neglected by its makers from the start. My criticism of the Vita is nothing new, but as Benny from Fallout: New Vegas said, "From where you're kneeling, it must seem like an 18-carat string of bad luck. But the truth is... the game was rigged from the start."

I reference that quote because Nintendo has always dominated the handheld market, so it should come to no surprise that the Vita fails to compete, though it should come as a surprise just how much the Vita has utterly failed. It has managed to gain momentum in Japan after a price drop, but sales remain stagnant in the US. The reason for the Vita's failure, at least so far, is certainly not hardware, but rather Sony's lack of support of their own handheld. In other words, software sells hardware, and the Vita has a major lack of software. The most important factor to note is that the PSP is very cheap now but is still a fairly modern device that has tons of amazing games, so it is far more appealing to simply buy a PSP rather than the Vita. A perfect example of how Sony is neglecting the Vita is the lack of any upcoming Monster Hunter game being released for the system. Monster Hunter had several releases on PSP and greatly pushed sales, similar to how Pokemon always pushes sales on Nintendo handhelds. Now the tides have changed and the 3DS has Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and will soon be getting Monster Hunter 4 as an exclusive.


Monster Hunter 4 will be a 3DS exclusive.
Not only does the Vita has a small selection of actual good games, but after a year Sony has still not announced any upcoming games to get really excited about, which leads me to the main reason I'm writing this article now. April 2013's Nintendo Direct recently announced an outrageously good lineup of 3DS games all scheduled for a 2013 release. The announced games include a new Zelda and Yoshi's Island game, two of Nintendo's top selling and most critically acclaimed series. What does Sony have to fire back with? At least for now, nothing. This could of course change in the near future if Sony decides to surprise us all, but this is doubtful considering they are focusing their efforts on the launch of the recently debuted Playstation 4, Sony's next-generation home console set to compete with the Wii U and Xbox "Durango." With all eyes on the PS4, Sony likely has little room for marketing their powerful HD handheld.


Sony is busy with the PlayStation 4 upcoming launch.
Unfortunately, the Vita is not a bad handheld, just misunderstood. It carries a high price tag that can be compared to an extremely high end smart phone, lacks solid first-party and third-party support, and has nothing to defend itself against Nintendo's onslaught of new 3DS titles. I would love to buy a Vita, but I just can't, and many others feel the same. Software sells hardware, not the other way around. We saw this a few years ago when Android had very little to offer in terms of apps and iOS was the uncontested king. With support of a fair amount of fantastic Japanese developers and publishers, the Vita is a great handheld for a niche audience, but there is nothing about it that can capture the mainstream market.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Like My JRPGs Boring and Grindy


I was just watching a review of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a game generally criticized for being way too simple and boring, especially for a Final Fantasy game. However it sounds like the perfect JRPG for me because, yes, I like boring JRPGs. Don't get me wrong, I love games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and the Tales series, but even in those games, labeled as exciting JRPGs, I spend most of my time grinding. In other words, I find ways to make exciting JRPGs boring, but this is what I enjoy. Its strange isn't it? Or maybe it isn't...

Looking back at my childhood, mainly my elementary school years, I played plenty of JRPGs because I had essentially an infinite amount of free time. I'd plop down on my squeaky old couch, turn on my GBA, and play mostly Pokemon while watching Dragon Ball Z re-runs that were completely out of order so I never had any idea what was going on. Pokemon is of course a very action-packed JRPG, but looking back once I beat my beloved Pokemon Ruby, for years to come I'd just keep on replaying the Elite Four and grinding. I barely even looked at the screen, I just kept pressing 'A' as my lv. 100 Pokemon destroyed everything in their path. However, for some odd reason, just pressing the 'A' button over and over and over and over again was mesmerizing and relaxing.

But suddenly it has hit me. The appeal of boring level grinds for hours finally became clear. JRPG grinding is perhaps one of the most therapeutic things in my life. When ever I feel really stressed out and need to relax I immediately turn to the closest turn-based RPG. Often little thought is required, all you need to do is sit back and press a button while listening to great chiptune (or orchestral) music. Everybody has some form of relaxation whether it be reading, watching TV, looking out at the stars. But hey, I'm a gamer, I've always been a gamer, and I always will be a gamer. However I only seem to be relaxed by grinding when I do it on a handheld console. Being forced to look at a large television is more overwhelming than relaxing, and I tend to get very immersed in any type of game when it is on the big screen. There is just something inexplicably magic and incredibly therapeutic about JRPG grinding on a handheld device while laying on a soft couch.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Zelda and Yoshi's Island Games Announced for 3DS

The original Yoshi's Island was one of the quintessential platformers on the SNES, and one of the more unique games in the Mario franchise, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is simply a masterpiece. The latest Nintendo Direct is enough to make a fan of either of these games weak in the knees: New Yoshi's Island and Zelda games!

Yoshi's Island uses the 2.5d NSMB aesthetic, arguably not as lush as sprites found in the first two games, but it still looks fantastic.

The last couple of handheld Zelda installments, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, were quite polarizing, with many skipping them entirely. For anyone worrying about the next portable epic, have no fear; The Legend of Zelda is deeply rooted within LttP's world, while still being an original experience with new elements, including Link's ability to turn into a two-dimensional drawing in order to move along walls. It's set to be released this holiday season.
Two very convincing reasons to own a 3DS if you don't already. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Super Hexagon

Super Hexagon is my current obsession. I wanted to review the game within half an hour of playing it, but thought that I should perhaps survive for longer than 8 seconds before doing so. Luckily, I went on a trip to Ireland recently which involved an 11-hour car/ferry journey so I had ample time to brush up on my skills. I now have a top score of 200:07, ranking me number 412 in the world! Enough about me though, I want to talk about this awesome game. 


The game involves controlling a small triangle that revolves around a transforming shape in the middle of the screen. Touching the corresponding side of the screen with your thumb rotates the triangle either clockwise or counter-clockwise. It takes time to get used to the controls because it turns very quickly. It has to, though, because while you do this all manner of geometric forms careen towards the shape in the middle and you have to use all of your twitch skills to avoid them! Survive for 10 seconds and a GLaDOS-like robotic voice says "Line!" indicating the next level. Then everything starts spinning faster, colours change, shapes shift and your eyes will begin to dry out, but you can't blink because otherwise you won't make it to the subsequent Triangle, Square, Pentagon and Hexagon levels. Hexagon is reached by surviving for 60 seconds and officially counts as completing the level, but really you'll want to chase high scores. There are three difficulties: Hard, Harder and Hardest. Beating each one unlocks three more: Hardester, Hardesterer and Hardestest. So yeah, it's hard, however what makes it so good is that the game hardly ever manages to be frustrating. The reason for this is that every game lasts such a short amount of time that replaying never feels like a chore. You're also constantly under pressure, which means there are no moments of boredom leading up to the level you were previously at. The other huge incentive for continued play comes from the amazing soundtrack by Chipzel which adds to the relentless assault on the senses and perfectly complements the neon-abstract visuals.

 
Ah yes, the visuals. Terry Cavanagh has created one of the most aesthetically elegant yet aggressive games I have ever seen. These screenshots display a consistency of form and function coupled with energetic and sparse use of colour. In motion, the game displays these qualities, but shifts and contorts at such a breathtaking pace that it is impossible to take it all in. The most captivating aspect of the visuals in this game is how they directly tie into the game design. The more complicated and difficult it is to maneuver the shape of the section, the more interesting it is to look at. The amount of times I have died at the point of the above image is innumerable. It is a simple yet brilliant game, a masterpiece of arcade game design. Give it enough time and it will own you. The only small issue I have with the game is the occasional slowdown. Nothing dramatic, but it is there and to be honest can at some points be helpful. See you on the scoreboard!

Super Hexagon on Android | iOS

Released: 2012-08-31
Developer: Terry Cavanagh

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Snag Kirby's Pinball Land and 3D Classics: Urban Champion on Club Nintendo


This month's Club Nintendo offerings include 3DS downloads for 3D Classics: Urban Champions and Kirby's Pinball Land, originally appearing on the Game Boy. Each can be had for 150 coins, but when you have the choice between these or Super Metroid for the same price, the choice is easy. One word comes to mind for this month's handheld titles, and that is "meh."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

5 Handhelds You've Never Heard Of

Game Pocket Computer


Released in 1984 exclusively in Japan (predating the Game Boy by 5 years), the Game Pocket Computer by Epoch was a commercial failure. Other than the built-in Paint and 11-Puzzle programs, only 5 games were released for it. It features an LCD screen with a resolution of 75x64 dots, and was the second handheld to use interchangeable game cartridges. These units are quite rare, and fetch hundreds on ebay when they do pop up.

digiBLAST


2005 marks the release of this beautiful piece of technology. The Nikko digiBLAST is neither a cassette player nor a toy spaceship, but a handheld marketed toward children as a multimedia device. It retailed for the European equivalent of approximately $90-100 and despite having a library toting popular licenses such as Pitfall, X-Men, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, didn't fare so well, halting plans for an American release.

Supervision

Verschiedene Supervision-Versionen 

Released in 1992, the Watara Supervision (Quickshot Supervision [the bendy one] in the UK) was one of the many contenders to the Game Boy banished to obscurity due to its utter failure. It was geared toward frugal gamers, priced at a mere $50 with games retailing for only $15 each. Despite the cheap price tag, a blurry display and lack of quality games kept it from gaining a significant following.

Mega Duck/Cougar Boy

http://25.media.tumblr.com/lzHBTRNzqn01l4jppw3BLaZlo1_400.jpg

Released in 1993 in Europe as the Mega Duck and in South America, the Cougar Boy, it is a handheld probably unknown to most. Produced by Creatronic, Videojet, and Timlex, it's fairly similar to the Supervision but boasts a superior display. The Cougar Boy version is the rarer of the two and can get a bit pricey.

Microvision

  http://www.handheldmuseum.com/MB/MB-MicrovisionUS.jpg

The Microvision, released by Milton Bradley in 1979, was the first handheld to use interchangeable cartridges. Granted, calling them carts is a stretch as users were required to rip its entire FACE off in order to play something else. Designed by Jay Smith, the man who would later go on to create the Vectrex, it had a bright but short lifespan, grossing $8 million in its first year but wouldn't make it to '83 due to a lack of third party support. Only 13 games were released for the system

For better or for worse, the world of handhelds is surprisingly diverse. These are just a handful of handhelds obscured by time and their limited success, but it's always interesting to look at how it's all evolved over the years.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Professor Layton has become somewhat of a poster-boy for Nintendo handhelds. His games' combination of unique charm, mystery stories, animated sequences and puzzle-solving have proved to have a universal appeal. Miracle Mask is his first adventure on 3DS. Can developer Level-5 keep up the Professor's sterling reputation?

While this is the 5th game in the series, it is chronologically the second and part of a prequel trilogy. If you want to get the most out of this particular game, I would recommend playing The Last Spectre (DS) and then watching The Eternal Diva (DVD/Blur-ray) before getting this. At least read a decent plot summary, otherwise there are a few references that will be lost on you. I don't want to go into many story details, because that would ruin a lot of the fun. Basically, Layton gets a letter from an old friend asking for his help. She lives in Monte d'Or, a city in the desert that has rapidly sprung up and grown into prosperity. He arrives just in time to catch the carnival parade in the evening. However, the festivities are brought to an abrupt halt when a number of people turn to stone! At that point a figure who calls himself The Masked Gentleman appears, claiming it is one of his many “miracles.” And he has a lot more of them in store for this city and its citizens...

One of, if not the best villain in the series!

The Masked Gentleman is a very flamboyant villain. His sharp suit and silver tongue will keep you thoroughly entertained. I was always looking forward to his appearances during my playthrough. In fact, all of the characters are great. The main trio of Layton and his two assistants Luke and Emmy are as charming as ever. The designs are all unique, a lot of the citizens are quite hilarious. The series is inspired by European animation like Belleville Rendezvous, so expect to see a lot of weird and accentuated features. You'll also get to discover Layton's past during this story and it will give you a better understanding of his character. The games often take a long time to be localised (21 months in this case), but you can understand why because the effort put into the writing is plain to see. All of the characters have lot to share and there a lot of funny exchanges. For example, a shop keeper with a very disproportionate build who has a crush on Emmy made me chuckle.

Always being a true gentleman.

Presentation-wise, the move to more powerful hardware has added a lot to the series. While this is a relatively recent release in the west, it was in fact a launch title in Japan. Bearing this in mind, I was surprised at how well Level-5 have used the system. My favourite change applies to the exploration. In the DS games there would be a static scene on the lower screen and you interacted with the environment and characters by touching them. Now the environments are on the 3D screen and they have a lovely layered depth to them. They remind me of Victorian dioramas and I think it's a great addition to the franchise. The Las Vegas-inspired city of Monte d'Or is a very cool setting as well. It suits the game's light-hearted tone while also giving it a sense of spectacle and celebration. The added depth encourages exploration and you can look around the environments by using the touchscreen like a mouse. You still touch characters to talk or tap on the scenery to find hint coins. The hint coins are hidden in the scenery and they are used to unlock hints in the puzzles. The characters are now fully modelled and they have managed to keep the animation style intact in this transition. They now animate a lot more in conversation too. These features combined with the 3D screen bring the game life in a way the DS could not.

In 3D the environments really pop!

The gameplay has also benefited from the hardware. You will see some puzzles that use the gyroscope and both screens in ways that haven't been done before in the series. You also now have the choice as to how you want the puzzle presented to you. The puzzle explanation can be sent to either screen, or hidden away. I found this immensely useful when using the memo function. I would have the explanation on the top while making my notes on the bottom. I know it doesn't sound like all that, but it was so helpful. The puzzles themselves are pretty good, I definitely needed the hint coins for the later ones! They are quite varied and everyone will find some challenging ones. Something the games have always done well is test different parts of your brain. For example, I had more trouble with the number related puzzles, but breezed through the more visual puzzles.

The music and sound design is as good as ever. The songs are all very pleasant and add to the air of mystery. I particularly like the main theme of Monte d'Or. Occasionally the puzzle music was distracting, but most of the time I enjoyed it. 

My main issue with the game is its length. At over 20 hours, I personally found it it a bit too long. I was playing while watching TV for some of the time, so I'm sure I could have finished it faster if I was more focused. Still, I would rather pay less money and have a shorter game. It still equates to good value for money, as there are 150 puzzles in the main game. There are also three mini-games which are quite fun, but don't compare to those in The Last Spectre (I loved the Toy Train mini-game so much!). You can also download a free puzzle every day online for a year, which is extremely generous. You definitely won't be starved for content. Whether you are a completionist or just want to enjoy a good mystery story, I don't think you'll be disappointed with Layton's new adventure. I haven't come close to seeing everything the game has to offer.

I have completed Curious Village (1st game) and The Last Spectre (4th) and I enjoyed this one the most. I would recommend this game to everyone; it is another great release for the 3DS, which is fast becoming one of the best handheld systems ever. It offers a charming, intriguing world filled with quirky characters and interesting puzzles. What's not to like!? 

Find Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask on ebay | Amazon

Released: 2012-10-28
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Level-5

Monday, April 1, 2013

EA Announces New Always-Online Handheld to Compete with Vita, 3DS



EA is no stranger to the video games industry, having been founded in 1982. However after all this time they are finally making the plunge into the hardware market, announcing today that they have plans on releasing a yet to be seen handheld game console this holiday season. Specs are unknown aside from the fact that the device will have a front facing camera that will constantly be streaming footage of everything you do to the nearest EA server. It was also announced that the system will require a constant internet connection to be used "after the massive success of Simcity's recent launch," said EA spokesperson.

The spokesperson went on to say, "John Riccitiello was a fantastic CEO and gamer and he will be truly missed. However, he wanted to go out with a bang, so just last week he told the board about what will be his last great achievement, a brand new handheld device jam-packed with always-on DRM." Riccitiello recently announced that he will be stepping down from his position of CEO at EA soon.

"I just follow the clearly written instructions in the emails my investors send me and things seem to work out in the end," said Ricitiello. "We've received criticism in the past few years from gamers, though I believe our consumers simply don't know what they really want."

"He was a pioneer in giving gamers everything they want; constant connectivity with the world while gaming, new content available for games the day they come out for a small extra price, and new distribution platforms such as Origin that bring all the fans of our games together in one extremely controlled environment," continued the spokesperson. "I think what will set our new handheld apart from the rest is the requirement to purchase games from our brand new platform, Origin Mobile, creating a singular, streamlined approach of purchasing games. This will eliminate the need to go out to a retailer and buy a physical copy, every game can be, and will be, downloaded from your own home at regular retail price."

The new handheld system from EA is set to launch at $1399.99 in the United States and will feature a required, paid firmware update at launch for $15.99.