What time is it? …
Well, disappointment time.
I’ve been looking forward to the Adventure Time release for quite some time now. I figured that developer Wayforward’s love of old-school gaming would mean that the Collector’s Edition would end up including some really cool bonuses that reminded us a simpler time in gaming. In a way, they have, but that actually ends up being one of my main gripes with this set. Let’s see what we get for the fairly inexpensive 10 dollar upgrade.
1) Adventure Time, “Hey Ice King! Why’d you steal our garbage?!!” 3DS game
2) Steelbook Case
3) Finn’s Sword Stylus
4) Land of Ooo fold-out Map
5) Book of Beasts Guide
This set is packaged very simply. The steelbook has been covered by a cardboard sleeve that covers all of the more fragile parts of the steel book. The sleeve has all of the necessary information printed on it. This necessary information is vital to the package because, as we will later see, the steelbook has nothing in the form of logos or product description written on it. All of this is then covered with shrinkwrap. It’s a simple but effective package.
Usually, a steelbook serves as a replacement for the standard game case. Here, that is not the case. Here, the steelbook serves as a box to hold all of the Collector’s Edition’s stuff. The inside of the steelbook has foam inserts on the right side in order to accommodate the safe transport of the much smaller 3DS game case. The left side is just a large tray where all the other inclusions are just sort of haphazardly tossed in. It’s not perfect, but it works. The stuff that is haphazardly just tossed in does not seem like it will be damaged in transit because none of it is really strong enough to damage the other items.
Steelbooks as containers for editions are not entirely unheard of. There was a terrible one for DOA5 that was just recently released. The steelbook here is miles better than the previously mentioned abomination. The steelbook here is smaller in height than your standard DVD case. It matches the more appropriate for our times blu-ray case height. It is also substantially wider than your standard bluray case in order to accommodate the items inside. Should you want to shelve this edition, it will look a little silly next to your 360 games or your 3DS games, but will fit perfectly next to your PS3 games.
The art on the steelbook is THE reason to want this collector’s edition. The case is made to look exactly like the fabled Enchiridion from the Adventure Time animated series. The steelbook is painted with non-glossy paint so as not to create a glossy Enchiridion. The plastic inlay is made out of white plastic to simulate pages in between the steel parts of the book. There are almost no markings on it that would not be on the actual Enchiridion. The only tiny marking is for copyright purposes. Other than that, this is a perfect, albeit smaller, reproduction of the Enchiridion. Even the spine of the book looks like an actual toon spine.
Unfortunately, all is not perfect. The spine sticker on my copy is slightly misplaced and hangs off one side a bit more than I would like. More worrisome, though, is the paint. The wonderful matte paint that was used on the steelbook may have been the right choice for aesthetics, but its longevity may become an issue. Even though my copy was shipped in a secure way and there was no damage to the unopened package, the corners of my Enchiridion were already showing wear. I can only imagine that this was due to the cardboard sleeve rubbing against the corners of the steelbook. This sort of pressure on the corners probably would not have caused any wear on a glossier paint because there would have been the protective gloss and gloss would have reduced the friction. That said, I think the matte paint was probably still the better option. On the whole, the steelbook is a great item for fans of the show.
Finn’s Sword Stylus:
If either of the two legend of Zelda games had come with a Master Sword Stylus, I would have been quite happy to play either game in its entirety using said stylus. I can almost say the same of Finn’s sword. After playing through the first dungeon of the game, I can safely say that I never once had a need for the Finn’s Sword Stylus. Adventure Time does not have any heavy stylus use and trying to use the one included would likely end up being more cumbersome than fun due to the game’s design. There’s a good chance that this bonus was included because it’s the kind of thing you make for 3DS users and not because it is appropriate for the game. It’s not.
Should you wish to use it for other games, the stylus seems to be completely useable as a stylus. It is made of a nice sturdy plastic and even has tiny little paint applications on the hilt. The plastic for the stylus part of the sword is made of a different plastic than the rest of the sword and is presumably better for the touch screen. I slid it across the screen and it felt the way I would expect it to. As is often the case with off-brand styluses, the fear of scratching the screen does go up. The stylus did not scratch my Hori screen protector in any way, but I cannot say with certainty how it will do with any other screen protector or the standard 3DS screen.
The fold-out Map of Ooo is tiny and ugly. The first thing you see when you take out the map is that there is an Adventure Time compass rose on the front of the fold-out. The compass rose, upon close inspection, has been placed on the front without any consideration for size and resolution. If you look closely, you can see aliasing (or Jpeg Compression) from the scaling used to make this image fit on the page. It looks tacky and it reeks of laziness.
The map itself is too small to put up on any of your walls. It is not even a useful form of navigation because the map is included within the actual game on the 3DS’s second screen. Using this map would only be cumbersome. As it stands, the map is the kind of pack-in that one would usually find bundled with the regular edition of a game instead of a Collector’s Edition.
The book of beasts is tiny and less ugly. The book of beasts is a very sparse beastiary of the enemies you will encounter in the game. I cannot say if every enemy is listed, but I imagine that it is comprehensive. The images used are directly from the game and thus look pixilated. It would have been nicer if they had used concept art for the enemies, but the pixel art is nice enough that it’s easy to see why they chose to use it.
The information given about the beasts is very limited. The section they are listed in tells you what locations you will encounter them in. The number of hit points they have is listed under their name and small humerous-ish descriptions are given under the hit points. That’s it.
The book is dimensionally smaller than the manual included with the regular game and the book has only 14 pages of content. It is nothing special. It is the kind of thing that feels like it should have been part of the manual instead of a bonus for collectors that pay a higher price point.
This is a cheap collector’s edition. It only costs 10 dollars extra. On top of that, because Adventure Time is itself a budget-priced title, the 10 extra dollars only make this set 40 dollars. That’s the same price as most non-shovelware regular 3DS games. If this game had been released as only the collector’s edition, publisher D3 would have been the greatest publisher ever because people would have assumed that all of the included bonuses were essentially free. Unfortunately, though, they didn’t do that and now we know that those things cost us 10 dollars.
When it comes to the map and book of beasts, those two items are a real slap in the face to those gamers who know what things used to be like. The regular edition’s manual has only two pages worth of content. There are various pages with warnings and licensing agreements and reprints for foreign languages, but the actual manual part of the manual is only two pages long. In simpler times, the map and the beast guide would have been part of the regular edition. The Beast Guide would have been inside the manual and the map would have been packaged in with them. In fact, the size of both of the aforementioned items shows us that maybe that was the original intent. Both of them and the manual and the Nintendo club insert fit perfectly inside the standard 3DS box.
For those needing more convincing of my theory, take the following into account: Adventure Time was a dual release for the DS and 3DS. The book of beasts, if you remember, was smaller than the manual for the 3DS game. It was smaller because the dimensions are EXACTLY the same as that of a DS manual. That’s because DS cases, if you remember, have a smaller cavity for their manuals than 3DS games. Why make the Beast Guide the perfect size to fit in a standard DS case if not to put it inside said case? I think that what happened was that the publisher decided to cut corners on the regular edition to make an extra buck, but then put the corners back in for people willing to pay a mark up. It’s an embarrassing reminder of how cheap publishers have become when 16 pages of content (manual plus beast guide) and a tiny tiny map are inclusions only for people willing to pay a higher price point.
I do not consider the above inclusions to be part of the mark up. I see them more as robbery from the standard edition. The sword and steelbook are different. They are legitimate extras. The sword is nice but not necessary for the included game. The steelbook is amazing and super cool for fans of the show. Do those two extras justify 10 extra dollars? Probably, yes. Especially when you consider the 40 dollar price point for the Collector’s Edition is still the same price as most standard 3DS games. It’s unfortunate that the map and Beast Guide make this set feel like such a condemnation on publisher greed. If not for that, this set would be easier to recommend. As it stands, it’s not.