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Cel Damage being remade in high definition

Races to PS3, PS4 and Vita this Spring
Feb 28
// Conrad Zimmerman
One of the most visually interesting race games of its day is coming back at today's higher resolutions. Cel Damage, a competitive, kart-style racing game with a cartoon aesthetic will be reborn as Cel Damage HD and rele...

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Deluxe Edition dated

HD port of handheld title due April 1
Feb 20
// Conrad Zimmerman
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate released to tepid reviews (at best), but that's not stopped Armature Studios from taking another crack at the Dark Knight as they transition the handheld game to PC and console platforms in t...

Review: Fable Anniversary

Feb 03 // Chris Carter
Fable Anniversary (Xbox 360)Developer: Lionhead StudiosPublisher: Microsoft StudiosReleased: February 4, 2014MSRP: $39.99 By and large this is the exact same Fable you played back in 2004 with a new coat of paint. The voicework and dialog are the same, the story is the exact same, and gameplay-wise, it's pretty much identical barring a control scheme update. Although the music is said to be remastered I couldn't really discern any major differences between the original score -- which is perhaps a testament to how superb it was the first time around. Visually the game has received an upgrade inline with the later games in the series. It's an odd juxtaposition, as many of the Fable cast members looked right at home with their original freakishly big heads and cartoony designs -- so it took some getting used to with the newer, more realistic Anniversary models. It was especially weird adapting to the early-game manchild teen hero character design, which looks half real and half cartoon. Whereas in the original you'd be able to laugh something like that off, some of the models can feel a bit strange in Anniversary. In essence, I'm a bit torn on the updated sheen. On one hand I really like the updated models for serious characters like Maze and the Guildmaster, who were more or less always meant to be more "real" looking. Other goofy characters like random townsfolk and traders look a bit more off, but not in a way that ruins the experience. Weapons and spell effects in particular are a massive improvement, however, as are the beautiful landscapes which feel completely new due to the Anniversary update. [embed]269734:52422:0[/embed] But all that glitters isn't gold, as there are some framerate issues (mostly in areas with lots of enemies) and noticeable pop-in during cutscenes, which is a shame. Then there's the odd decision to rip one element directly from the original, which doesn't quite fit when everything else around it feels new. Specifically, the narrated "stained glass" interludes that often move the story along are also in the same style as the original Xbox game, which looks noticeably old and jarring. The story is still the same, which has its ups and downs, as well as its mix of memorable and forgettable characters. However, the original Fable succeeds where others in the series have failed, in its ability to deliver a cohesive, easy-to-follow tale that doesn't ever get ahead of itself. There's a clear big bad villain, an obvious motivation, and a relatively simple goal to achieve -- thus earning the moniker of "fable" quite appropriately. The Fable games later added the ability to play as male or female, but the first title is strictly from a male perspective -- which hasn't changed in Anniversary. Thankfully, the controls have been updated to allow for Fable 2/3 mechanics, which are mainly centered around dedicated attack buttons for magic, ranged, and melee attacks. The original had a scheme that revolved around manually switching weapon types out which is a bit cumbersome, but if you prefer that method it is there as a "legacy" control option. Everything is relatively easy to perform, as a simple button press will instantly queue up the appropriate attack. Having said that, a few of the same faults have crept up in Anniversary, most notably the occasionally broken lock-on system. By holding the left trigger your hero will lock on to the closest enemy, allowing you to quickly tap it to change targets. The problem is, not only is this system inaccurate (d-pad switching would be preferable), but it also goes haywire from time to time, locking on a random piece of scenery and causing you to outright miss with ranged attacks. Beyond those issues though combat is relatively straightforward and fun, allowing you a degree of freedom with tons of spells, close-combat options, and bow attacks. Your hero can also block and roll as well as employ just about every type of spell you desire, allowing you to play the way you want to play, since it's feasible to beat the game with any combination of the three combat disciplines. The game is still incredibly easy though, as you can carry over 50 health potions, 100 pieces of health-restoring food (with no time limitations on use), and nine "resurrection phials" that let you instantly revive yourself. It's an odd design choice that still creeps its way into the Anniversary edition, as there is never really any sense of danger or tension when you can just pop one of your hundreds of healing options, with a backup system should you fail to press a button. While the core tenets of the experience are identical, there are a few noticeable differences with the update which lead to mixed results. The menus have been updated, but they're big and clunky with a number of pointless tabs, so it's hard to locate anything in particular. Thankfully, you can now save anywhere, and there are a ton of added auto-saves and checkpoints, so you'll hardly ever lose any progress at any time. SmartGlass functionality has also been added, which lets you view the world map and backstories on various characters. It's not essential, but it's a nice little touch. In terms of content, worry not, as the Lost Chapters expansion is fully intact in Anniversary, which adds a few more hours of (fun) quests as well as a new town, items, and a new ending. I'm especially a fan of Lost Chapters as it's relatively to the point, and delivers constant action with moral quandaries that don't feel ham-fisted or forced. You'll also get to earn Achievements for the first time ever in the original Fable, which have some rather clever naming conventions (one is titled "Definitely Not On Rails") and requirements (most of them have multiple unlock options).Fable Anniversary may not blow you away, but it's still a good action game that everyone should experience at some point or another, and I'd consider it vastly superior to Fable 2 and 3. If you've never played a Fable game before this is a great place to start, but at full price, it's hard to wholly recommend over picking up the original Xbox Lost Chapters edition on the cheap.
Fable Anniversary review photo
Still chasin' them chickens
Fable and I have a history together. Ever since I learned of its existence in an official Xbox Magazine under the codename "Project Ego," I was enthralled by the promises of Peter Molyneux. Back then, he basically could ...

Assassin's Creed Liberation HD is a fine upgrade

Jan 15 // Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Liberation HD (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 [tested])Developer: Ubisoft SofiaPublisher: UbisoftReleased: August 14, 2013 (PS3) / August 15, 2013 (PC, Xbox 360)MSRP: $19.99 ($14.99 if you own the Assassin's Creed IV Season Pass) Barring an odd filter in the opening sequence of the game (that really had me worried), Liberation HD looks considerably better than it did on the Vita. It's brighter, bolder, the draw distance is farther, and most importantly -- the frame rate is a lot smoother. The same goes for the game's remastered sound quality, which is great when coupled with a good home audio setup. Basically, I saw and heard more than I ever did before, which is ultimately the goal of an HD port. It feels like you're truly playing a companion to a fully-featured Assassin's Creed in every way, rather than a portable compressed version of the game -- at least, on a technical level. Aveline can basically do everything her predecessors could, and although the game doesn't implement the superior Black Flag-style combat system (it's basically Connor's fighting style from III), this still gets the job done. I didn't have any issues getting Aveline to climb, dash, or jump her way to any structure I could find, which is how an Assassin's Creed game should always feel. Having said that, Liberation HD is still not on par with the newest iteration of the series, and it's less impressive than Black Flag in nearly every way. This is not only due to the less inspired world design, but the limitations of the port. Strangely, some of the same pop-in issues that occurred on the Vita happen right here in HD. It's not game-breaking, but it's peculiar given how much effort otherwise went into this version.  There are also a few other minor issues, like the inability to skip cutscenes, which can be a bother for players who have already beaten the game on Vita. The missions are also much shorter on average than most games in the series, lending itself to the bite-sized nature of its portable roots. I'm mentioning this in particular because Liberation HD is essentially the same exact game, with a few minor changes -- mostly good ones. For instance, I noticed that one of the earlier missions has been considerably streamlined for the better. Previously, players were tasked with locating a slave who was locked up in a warehouse, then slowly lead them back by way of an escort mission. In Liberation HD, after locating the missing person you simply teleport back to the destination, and a cutscene ensues. This happens a few more times throughout the story, and the change is most likely due to direct player feedback from the Vita version. There are also a few shifted missions and added inconsequential side missions to help improve the flow of the game. Another shake-up is the lack of any touchscreen minigames. I didn't find them to be too frustrating, but a lot of others found them absolutely maddening when the Vita's rear touchscreen refused to cooperate. Now, you don't have to deal with them at all, and I find that to be a vastly preferable option. It's also interesting that the new "HD" naming convention strays from the Assassin's Creed III subtitle it had on Vita. Connor does show up and make an appearance, but this is Aveline's tale through and through, and I hope this remake shows that Ubisoft isn't done with her. After playing so much of the Vita game it's weird to see Aveline on the big screen so to speak, but I'm glad she has an even bigger chance to shine. Now Assassin's Creed fans who don't own a Vita have a chance to enjoy her tale, and that's easily a good thing, blemishes and all.
AC Liberation HD photo
But there are still some blemishes
When Liberation was released on the PlayStation Vita, I heartily enjoyed the opportunity to play Assassin's Creed on the go. Aveline was a great addition to the franchise, and it showed that Ubisoft could actually h...


Assassin's Creed Liberation looks way better in HD

No duh
Jan 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Assassin's Creed Liberation is making the jump from handheld to consoles and PC. Liberation HD is completely remastered visually, and Ubisoft released some new screenshots to show off how much prettier the game looks. Otherwi...

Here's a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix

Dec 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Here's a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix straight from the Jump Festa event in Japan. Sora, Roxas, Riku, and Namine are doing things with a bunch of Disney folks like Princess Aurora, Hercules, King Mickey, Capta...
Earthbound photo

Fan recreates Earthbound with HD visuals

Artist Christopher Behr gives the retro cult hit a new look
Dec 18
// Alessandro Fillari
To say that Earthbound, or Mother as it's referred to in Japan, is a much loved and admired game, is an understatement. From fans creating charity drives, to organized campaigns to get the game on Nintendo's virtual console -...
Soulcalibur II HD trailer photo
Soulcalibur II HD trailer

Soulcalibur II HD is looking nice in new launch trailer

Looks just as good as it did... but better!
Nov 14
// Brett Zeidler
Namco Bandai is all set to release Soulcalibur II HD Online next week on current-gen digital storefronts Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, and has released a launch trailer as a subtle reminder that this is a th...

100% Series Retrospective: The Legend of Zelda

Nov 14 // Chris Carter
Why Zelda? The Legend of Zelda series has had a profound impact on me ever since I layed my eyes on Zelda 1's beautiful gold NES cartridge. In fact, other than Mega Man, Devil May Cry, and Resident Evil, Zelda is probably my favorite game series. I distinctly remember being at my old friend Billy Warwick's house, fishing through his NES collection (in those spiffy long rectangular official Nintendo cases) and marveling at the coolest cartridge I had ever seen. I asked Billy what the golden game was, and he had no idea - well, we weren't sure what to expect from a game called "Zelda," but when we popped it in, we really had no idea what was in store for us. Zelda was open world bliss. As one of my friends put it, when the series debuted for the first time, it was like the "HDTV" of gaming - it completely blew everyone away. I mean, the first title was basically an amalgamation of both Gauntlet and Dragon Warrior, but it did it in such a way that pretty much no one could have predicted. Zelda just gave you this giant, sprawling open world, and said "have at it" in an action based setting - how can you get much better than that?! Shortly afterwards, I picked up The Adventure of Link, and the rest was history: I was addicted. So without further ado, here are the Zelda games that I've either beaten so far in 2011, or need to conquer! The Legend of Zelda - NES, GBA, GCN Collector's Disc [Owned], eShop, VC - (Completed in July 2011) As previously mentioned, Zelda was one of my first games and easily one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. Although we did beat it with the help of my friend's father, I came back in 2011 and recently tackled it myself. It was...difficult, to say the least! There are so many hidden bomb rooms that don't have telltale cracks, and tons of absolutely insane secret areas, that it would take a guide to complete everything. Either way, the first game laid the groundwork for future Zelda titles, and helped pave the way for Action RPGs all around. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link - NES, GBA, GCN Collector's Disc [Owned], VC - (Completed in July 2011) I'm currently playing through The Adventure of Link right now, and I have to say, it's easily the most underrated Zelda game of all time. There's a very robust magic system, an XP system (for the first and last time), and every single action scene takes place in a sidescrolling fashion, as opposed to the popular birds-eye view of the first game - how's that for innovation! Zelda II is also notoriously hard, but not nearly as hard as the first game in my opinion - I mean, at least there's some clear idea of where to go. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend dropping the $5 on the first Zelda, depending on your tastes, I heartily recommend picking this one up on the Virtual Console - it's one of my favorite Zelda games that I both enjoyed at release, and years afterward. A Link to the Past - SNES [Owned], GBA [Owned], VC - (Completed in July 2011) Ah, Link to the Past, how many times have I bested you? Funnily enough, this SNES cartridge was passed down to me by my cousin, who threw it into the wall in a fit of anger. I picked it up, taped the crack in the cartridge up, and asked if I could have it - thankfully, he said "yes", and I was on my way to beating Link to the Past for the first time! I'll just come right out and say it: if you haven't played LTTP yet, do it. Now. The game is an absolute classic, and the art style still holds up to this day. One of the best things about the game is the lack of pageantry in the beginning. There's no lengthy boring cutscene like future Zelda games - you just press start, jump in, and your epic quest to rescue Zelda immediately begins. Out of all the Zelda games, I'd say Link to the Past is probably the most polished. Link's Awakening/DX - Gameboy [Owned], Gameboy Color, eShop [Owned] - (Completed in July 2011) Link's Awakening is another underrated Zelda game (although it wasn't at the time). How Nintendo took LTTP's winning formula, and condensed it into a Gameboy game, I'll never know (it was witchcraft). Awakening is probably one of my top "go-to" Zelda games because it's so simple to get into, and once you get the Roc's feather, it's a ton of fun just jumping around like an idiot. Some time later, Nintendo released DX for the Gameboy Color (and eventually 3DS), which was basically the definitive version that added colors, and a new color-based dungeon. I played that version for this quest, and it was nice to rediscover the magic all over again.Ocarina of Time - N64, GCN Collector's Disc [Owned], VC, 3DS [Owned] - (Completed in July 2011) There's not much I can say about Ocarina of Time that hasn't been said a thousand times - it completely revolutionized 3D gaming, which was an unparalleled feat at the time. Hyrule Field is one of the best overworlds yet, the soundtrack is easily my favorite, and like some of the best Zelda games, the gameplay is simple and enjoyable. Many people knock on Ocarina for being dated - I implore those folks to check out the 3Ds remake, as it smooths out some of those nasty 64 graphical limitations, and offers a better overall gameplay experience. Make no mistake - Ocarina of Time still holds up. Majora's Mask - N64, GCN Collector's Disc [Owned], VC - (Completed in August 2011) This is another fan favorite, but unlike all of the above other games, this is the first Zelda game I just couldn't get into at release. I made it about halfway through after picking it up on the Nintendo 64, and just gave up on it. Personally, I thought the innovative platforming elements were neat (brought about by putting on different "masks" that would transform you into a creature capable of swimming, for instance), but there were way too many sidequests that made it too easy to slip into boredom, since it was difficult to know what was required, and what was not. I'm currently playing through the game now, and all it makes me want to do is play Ocarina of Time over again. Thankfully, Majora's Mask is still a really fun, really solid game in it's own right. Extended Thoughts: So I beat Majora's Mask for the first time in 2011. Honestly, the only part I truly enjoyed was the final epic boss battle. I didn't really enjoy the dungeons for multiple reasons (I didn't think any of them had a solid identifiable theme, and the boss fights were pretty drab - also, what's up with re-using the Wizrobe mini-boss fight like six times?), and I felt like a lot of the game was disjointed. Termina didn't really feel like one cohesive world so much as a bunch of different planets. Some people say that's good -- but to me, it didn't feel as magical. I could go on and on about Majora's Mask, but I think I'll leave it at this: although I had issues with it, this game has character in spades, and I wouldn't even put it close to the bottom of the Zelda pile. Oracle of Ages/Seasons - Gameboy Color [Owned] - (Completed in August 2011) These two games are another entry I didn't get into as much at release, even if I really, really enjoyed them (I had way too much to play at the time on the PS1 and PS2). I'm looking forward to getting back on this horse and beating both games via the "game-link" system on my 2011 Zelda quest. These are probably the only Zelda games in the entire series I literally have nothing to say about - I played them, I barely remember them, and they're on my list. Extended Thoughts:While these two aren't my favorite Zelda games in the series, they are incredibly solid. The "Oracle" games are a good mix of the newschool, post Ocarina of Time Zelda, and the old school Zelda 1 mindset. The game link system seemed pretty gimmicky at the time, but years later, it's actually a pretty fun way to experience both titles. As for which one is better, I'd probably say "Seasons" - the time mechanic in "Ages" has been done in just about every Zelda game, so it was fun to see something refreshing. Four Swords - GBA [Owned] - (Completed in August 2011) I loved Four Swords at release, but the weird nature of the game made it hard to play it - this was a multiplayer only affair. Fortunately, back in the day, I had the opportunity to play this with a group of Zelda-nuts, but fast forward to 2011, and my ability to play this game is seriously hindered. Thankfully, Nintendo is planning on releasing Four Swords for the 3DS and DSi platforms in September - I may beat them to the punch, however, by playing it with a friend by way of a Gameboy Advance link cable. Extended Thoughts: Four Swords is a must play Zelda game. For one, the levels/dungeons are randomized, making it a Zelda junkie's dream. Second, the interface and mechanics are so clean, that it's incredibly hard to get bored playing it. Add in the fact that there are multiple unlocks for A Link to the Past, including a brand new dungeon, and you have yourself a winning Zelda title. Four Swords might seem bite sized, but it's easily in my top five Zelda list. In order to play it, I bought two copies of A Link to the Past GBA, and an official Nintendo GBA Link Cable (a universal one will not work): however, Nintendo is releasing it in September 2011 on DSiware, for the DSi and 3DS handhelds. Wind Waker - GCN [Owned] - (Completed in August 2011) Wind Waker is another classic entry in the Zelda series. When Zelda needed a good shakeup from the Ocarina engine, and the same old top-down portable style, here comes Wind Waker with a complete stylistic overhaul. Although I wasn't a huge fan of Wind Waker at release, as time went on, I grew to appreciate the game more and more, and now it's near the top of my list. I barely remember beating this one (my friend beat it, mostly), so I'm looking forward to my full completion run this year. Extended Thoughts: Other than the lengthy tri-force shard collection-thon towards the end of the game, Wind Waker is incredible. Nintendo tried a ton of new things in terms of character/enemy design, and it really paid off. Even classic enemies like Re-Deads and Stalfos look unique, yet retain that familiar quality about them, which must have been incredibly hard to design. In terms of the gameplay, the swordplay is probably the best in the series, and the rush you get from exploring the ocean depths is second to one. Beyond the childish looking veneer, Wind Waker is full of character, and one of the best Zelda games to date. Four Swords Adventures - GCN [Owned] - (Completed in August 2011) Thankfully, unlike Four Swords, this Gamecube iteration, entitled "Adventures" can be played solo - one player just controls all four Links, which allows you to change combat formations on the fly. This is another game that I barely played at release, due to the low availability of the title, and the weird method in which you played it. Oddly enough, if you wanted to play multiplayer, each gamer had to have their own GBA, and system link cable. Of course, I was intrepid enough to engage in this particular activity a few times, but I never ended up beating the game. I didn't feel too bad after finding out it was the least successful Zelda game of all time, but I just picked this up for Gamecube recently via physical copy, and I plan on beating it in 2011. Extended Thoughts: Four Swords Adventures say the least. Despite being a four player game, I think this quest is best completed alone - when you start to get into the meat of the game later on, some of the levels start to get way too convoluted to coordinate with three other players - not to mention the coordination required for setting up four Game Boy Advances on a Gamecube. Additionally, the game is incredibly long for a level based, non-open world Zelda title (about fifteen or more hours) and at times, it feels a bit boring. Despite these shortcomings, the Tower Of Winds is one of my favorite dungeons of all time, and there are easily a ton of good things about Adventures - even if it overstays it's welcome a bit. Minish Cap - GBA [Owned] - (Completed in August 2011) If you asked most Zelda fans what the most underrated game of the series is, they would probably say Minish Cap. Sadly, Cap's release basically came and went at the end of the GBA's lifecycle, and like so many obscure Nintendo games before it, was forgotten. In fact, I never fully experienced it at release, making it one of the few Zeldas I haven't beaten yet. Honestly, I have no idea why I haven't truly sat down and experienced this gem, but let's just say I'm excited to pop this one in my GBA. Extended Thoughts: Minish Cap is now in my top five Zelda list, for a myriad of reasons - it's just that good. While Wind Waker mixed up the Zelda formula a bit with a new aesthetic, it still played like a Zelda game. Minish Cap however, at times, felt like a completely different series - which is easily a good thing. Nintendo and Capcom did a good job mixing up the swordplay and nearly all of the items are completely new to the series. Twilight Princess - Wii [Owned], GCN [Owned] - (Completed in August 2011) To be blunt, Twilight Princess is probably the only Zelda game in the entire series that I just don't like. Oddly enough, I beat it the week of release on my friend's Wii, and even completed the secret dungeon - I was drawn to it because it promised to be the next coming of Ocarina of Time, but after completion, I just didn't feel it. The core reason why I didn't enjoy it is pretty simple: the game didn't have heart. Under the veneer of motion controls, which were nothing more than waving your wand back and forth every...single...time you wanted to attack, the game was drab, and nothing was memorable. While I can pretty much recall the floor plans of each Temple after my first completion of other games, I am completely drawing a blank as to what Twilight Princess's dungeons even were. I'm very reluctant to beat this one in my 2011 quest, but considering it is a main series Zelda game, I think I'll do this one last. Extended Thoughts: I have a much more favorable view of Twilight Princess this time around from a gameplay standpoint after playing the GameCube version instead - the Gamecube's tactile feedback and control system is just that much better than the Wii's initial ham-fisted motion control scheme. Twilight Princess still has a ton of problems (drab looking locales, padded/filler areas, redundant items), but at least it has a solid number of classic moments. For instance, I forgot how amazing a few of the dungeons are: the Arbiter's Grounds is one of my favorite dungeons of all time; The Stallord boss fight is one of the best in the series (if not the best), and the shoutout to Ocarina of Time's the Forest Temple is gold. Additionally, the Temple of Time is really, really fun (and introduced the "companion cube" concept approximately a year before Portal!). As previously stated, I don't think Twilight Princess is a terrible game: I just think that overall, it's a sub-par Zelda title. Phantom Hourglass - DS [Owned] - (Completed in September 2011) I liked Phantom Hourglass due to the return to the Wind Waker style (I feel like the style is more suited for portable systems), but it took me a while to get into it. The repetition of the main dungeon kind of got to me after a while, but thankfully, I ended up beating it. Like pretty much all of the other titles, I'm looking forward to fishing this one out of the game pile and beating it in 2011. It's not one of my favorites, but it's not bad by any means. Extended Thoughts: I honestly don't have a whole lot to say about Phantom Hourglass - even though it feels fairly unique considering it is controlled entirely with the stylus, a lot of the style is heavily borrowed from Wind Waker and it feels fairly dull at times. Having to re-do the main dungeon multiple times also grinds on you after a while, which leads to tons of breaks in-between play sessions; a stark contrast to pretty much every other Zelda game, which makes you yearn for more every single time you get a new item, or complete a new dungeon. Stylus support also feels completely pointless at times, and I would have loved an alternate control scheme. All in all Phantom Hourglass isn't a poor game, but I'm in no hurry to play it again compared to most of the series, mostly due to the "touch" nature of the game.Spirit Tracks - DS [Owned] - (Completed in October 2011) Overall, I'm indifferent about Spirit Tracks - it felt like more Phantom Hourglass, and I didn't really dig the train gimmick. I think it was during the release of this title that I realized I was mainly a console Zelda fan - although there are a few portable gems in there (Minish Cap, Awakening), overall, the full-fledged console titles are my Zelda platform of choice. I personally thought the only bad part of Spirit Tracks were the train sections, but unfortunately, there are a lot of those! Extended Thoughts: I don't really have too much of an opinion of Spirit Tracks - like Phantom Hourglass, many sections feel like a chore (and ultimately, all of the train sections are a bore); but at the end of the day, while it may not be the best Zelda game, it is a decent portable title. Four Swords Anniversary - DSiWare, eShop [Owned] - (Completed in October 2011) Nintendo has just announced that the DSi/3DS re-release of Four Swords will contain new content, in the form of new levels, abilities/weapons, and an entirely new single player component. As a result, I am treating it as a separate release, and plan on tackling the solo adventure in an effort to complete the new levels. Extended Thoughts: The only bad part about Four Swords Anniversary is that it won't be around forever - you have until February 2012 to pick this one up for free - after that, it will probably be gone for a long time, until Nintendo decides to re-release it again. Simply put, Four Swords Anniversary is one of the best Zelda games in the entire series - it takes an already incredible game and adds a much needed single player element, as well as a ton of extra content. After playing this remade masterpiece, I'd easily place it in my top five Zelda games of all time.  Skyward Sword - Wii/Motion Plus [Owned] - (Completed in December 2011)Hopefully, come Winter 2011, I'll be able to make the claim that Skyward Sword is the "Ocarina of Time" of this generation. Unlike Twilight Princess, this game looks like it has a ton of heart, which is exemplified by the extremely colorful new villain, the beautiful Sky World, and the stunning art style. Motion Control also doesn't seem like a gimmick this time around, forcing you to actually think before you strike with motion plus, as opposed to waving your wand around like an idiot in Twilight Princess. The more and more I see of Skyward Sword, the more I think it will be the best title of 2011. Considering it was the catalyst for this entire adventure, it's pretty obvious that I can't wait! EXTENDED THOUGHTS: Overall I thought it was a decent, flawed game. In my mind, I had it at least making it into my top five of Zelda list based on what I had seen, but after completion, I'm sure that it doesn't come close. While it's by no means even near the bottom, there are certain issues that I couldn't really get past. Motion control wise, combat was great, but everything else I could have dealt without. My bird flight controls constantly deadzoned, as well as my free-flight/skydiving sections, and swimming. I had more than a little trouble with the bomb rolling controls, and the stabbing/thrust moves - this was with the brand new gold wii-mote, that worked great with other games. Gameplay wise, I felt like there was way too much repetition and way too many fetch quests, and re-using the exact same environments over and over again was extremely grating. But when the game worked - it worked. For the most part I loved the dungeons, and I'd be keen to play it on Hero Mode in the near future. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - Wii U [owned], Wii U eShop [owned] - (Completed in September 2013)  As soon as I booted up Wind Waker HD, I knew I was in for a treat. There's something about the game's locales that really jump out at me, and seeing Outset island in glorious HD was a thing of beauty. For those of you who were wondering -- yes, Wind Waker still holds up, which is a testament to the brilliant design of the original. But even though it is nearly the exact same game you know and love, it comes with a few welcome mechanical enhancements. For those of you who found slowly sailing across the world for objectives boring -- there's the Swift Sail item that makes traveling faster. If you found the Triforce collection quest to be too tedious (I happen to be one of those people), it's been shortened and streamlined. GamePad support is also something I now can't live without, as you can not only instantly re-assign items during dungeons (which you'll need to do on more than one occasion) just like Ocarina of Time 3D, but you can also consult the GamePad as a map when sailing. Unlike the Wii Zelda games where I felt like it was a regression due to the unnecessary waggle, Wind Waker HD actually manages to transcend the original due to the core mechanics of the Wii U. And you know the best part? The GamePad functionality is completely optional, and you can just cruise along with a Pro Controller without having to bother with the pad at all. This is a huge deal for me given the fact that so many recent Zelda games have had forced control schemes without options. If you haven't played Wind Waker, I'd definitely recommend picking it up on Wii U, as it's one of the greatest action-adventure games of all time. It manages to capture that feeling of pure adventure that the Zelda series is known for, while maintaining relevance in an HD era with its gorgeous, timeless art style. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - 3DS, 3DS eShop [owned] - (Completed in November 2013) A Link Between Worlds is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it has a lot of [positive] streamlining that really puts the emphasis on adventuring, and having fun. On the other, it's a very dry, unimaginative quest that doesn't really have a compelling world or cast of characters. Throughout most of the game, I felt like I was just going through the motions. The magic really wasn't there, even if it was technically sound, and played great. I have to give a special shoutout to the ice dungeon, as it presented a perspective never before seen in the Zelda series, period. Set to the tune of a giant skyscraper-like layout, you're constantly falling down and making pinpoint drops, almost like it was a platformer without a jump button. The 3D effect only makes this dungeon (and the entire game, really) sing even more. But the rest of the game really didn't live up to that high standard. If you're really itching for a Zelda game though, A Link Between Worlds isn't bad by any means. It should deliver the basic experience to fans, and if you've never played a Zelda before, this is a great start due to the fact that it's so straightforward and easy to play. Although I hope a lot of the concepts are used in future iterations, I similarly hope a bit more heart and personality is injected as well.Thanks for stopping by, and joining me on my quest to rescue Zelda approximately fifteen sixteen times. So what's your favorite Zelda? What's your least favorite? Is Majora's Mask better than Ocarina of Time? Feel free to leave a comment below!
100% Zelda retrospective photo
It's dangerous to go alone...take this
[Want to see what I thought of Wind Waker HD and A Link Between Worlds 3DS? Read past my 2011 quest to beat every core Zelda game ever made.] Halfway through beating Ocarina of Time 3D, I had a pretty neat thought: ...

Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

These Final Fantasy X HD screens still amaze

So fresh and so clean
Nov 11
// Abel Girmay
So close, but still far away, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is doing a fine job of showing why the PlayStation 3 will still have a place in your entertainment center. How fine of a job? About 50-plus screenshots worth of fine. So fine, so sexy, so fresh, so clean. Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD will release on December 26, 2013 in Japan, and in 2014 in all other territories.
Nintendo photo

More HD remakes from Nintendo possible, but not right now

Miyamoto would want more than a visual update
Oct 25
// Jordan Devore
In a roundtable discussion with press, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto said that while the company is concentrating its efforts on producing new games, HD remakes in the vein of its Wind Waker revamp aren't out of the question --...
New Tales of Symphonia photo
New Tales of Symphonia

Tales of Symphonia getting a new Collector's Edition

In North America, even!
Oct 16
// Patrick Hancock
I've only played one Tales game, and it was Tales of Symphonia for the GameCube. It seemed to have just what I wanted, engaging combat and likeable characters in an appropriately insane JRPG plot. Though really, I d...

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix confirmed for 2014

Oct 14
// Dale North
Today at D23 Expo in Japan, Square Enix announced that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX has started development. We'll see it here in North America some time in 2014.  This follow up to the recently released. Kingdom Hearts ...
FFX/X-2 HD content photo
FFX/X-2 HD content

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD has Eternal Calm, Last Mission

Content previously not released in the US
Oct 11
// Steven Hansen
The perpetually not-here-yet Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD finally have a Japanese release date of December 26, along with a variety of buying options (bundled on PS3/Vita or separate on just the Vita). Meanwhile, we patiently w...
FFX/X-2 HD photo

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD dropping on December 26 in Japan

Oct 10
// Chris Carter
Even though it took Nintendo six months to produce Wind Waker HD, Square Enix is still trucking with the remakes of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. Granted, both games are a little bigger than Wind Waker, but still fan...
Wind Waker HD photo
Wind Waker HD

The Wind Waker HD was developed in only six months

That doesn't mean it was easy
Oct 09
// Brett Makedonski
Nintendo's recent remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD was one that had fans giddy with anticipation. Luckily, that anticipation didn't have to last all that long, because according to the series' produc...
SoulCalibur photo

Soulcalibur II HD for Wii U if there's demand, says Namco

Well then...
Sep 20
// Jordan Devore
We're definitely getting Spawn and Heihachi in Soulcalibur II HD Online for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, which is terrific to see. No complaints there. Thing is, The Legend of Zelda's Link is the character we rea...

Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Sep 18 // Jim Sterling
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 3Publisher: NintendoReleased: September 20, 2013 (NA), October 4, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $49.99 The Wind Waker debuted on the GameCube in 2002. Its visual style is crafted with such perfect simplicity, however, that the HD coat of paint effortlessly obscures any suggestion of it being over a decade old. From the moment the title screen appears, The Wind Waker HD delights with its bright, crisp, colorful visuals. It's the perfect kind of game to re-release in HD -- something that already looked fantastic, and was held back purely by the constraints of standard definition.  Unlike games that perpetually push the notion of "photorealism" and subsequently look pitifully dated when resurrected in future generations (the original Killzone springs immediately to mind), the elegant cartoon stylings of The Wind Waker lend it a timeless visual quality that raises a huge grin when gawped at for the first time in 1080p. To conclude this shameless fellating of The Wind Waker's art style, and its suitability for high definition, Nintendo made a fantastic call on this one.  Though visually timeless, the GameCube classic has aged in other areas, particularly when it comes to its basic interactivity. This is an issue exacerbated by the Wii U GamePad, the analog sticks of which are a bit too twitchy for Link's movements and have a tendency to overreact to the slightest of nudges. It doesn't help that the combat itself is a little bit clunky these days, while the need to travel across vast quantities of ocean -- helped nonetheless by some excellent background music -- can feel like something of a chore these days -- at least until you get the Swift Sail. There are some gyroscope controls thrown into the mix, because obviously there are, and they're maybe 50% effective at what they do. While I appreciate the theoretical ease of selecting the grappling hook, physically moving the GamePad to aim it, and instantly letting loose, the inescapable twitchiness and sensitive motion input makes it difficult to stay on target, and as such, the intended fluidity only works in about half of its uses. Fortunately, you can turn these features off, or you can use the Pro Controller if you want a far more traditional experience without the modern hindrances and benefits.  Griping aside, Nintendo's done a solid job of streamlining some of the more clanking elements of gameplay. The GamePad's touchscreen does an excellent job of presenting extraneous information, as well as making inventory management a breeze. The ability to swipe items into the action buttons at will eliminates that common Zelda problem, the constant need to pause the game and switch equipment around. Similarly, the lower screen also houses the world map, which provides similar convenience for sailing from island to island. These improvements are merely minor touches and do little to significantly overhaul the experience, but they're all welcome changes that subtly contribute to crafting a superior experience.  On the subject of streamlining, some minor gameplay fixes have been made to reverse some of the game's most notorious drags. The hunt for the Triforce shards has been made far less infuriating, with most of them now available on land with only three requiring tedious ocean fishing. You can also wander around Wind Waker's pretty world in first-person view should you desire, but you won't be able to use all your items.  Other additions include a beefed up Hero mode -- available as soon as you begin a new game -- the ability to upload Picto Box selfies using Miiverse, and message bottles. At the time of writing, this latter feature is not currently online, but when it is you'll be able to write messages that, via Miiverse, shall appear as bottled messages in other peoples' games, floating in the ocean for random retrieval. While currently offline, it's a neat little idea that ought to give Miiverse fans something extra to play with.  At the press of a button, you may switch the entire game from your television to your GamePad, though obviously you'll lose the added benefits of having a permanent inventory/map screen in your hand. The controller's screen is also a subpar method of displaying how gorgeous Wind Waker is, and it's highly recommended you stick to your TV as much as possible.  Most importantly, however, everything irrevocably enchanting about The Wind Waker has been preserved for this HD re-release. Its sense of color and optimism, the overwhelming eccentricity of its oceanic world, the vibrant sense of life and excitement that permeates this particular game more than any other Zelda title to date. There's something innately special lying at the heart of this one, something extra joyful that its series brethren lacks. This is not to say other Zelda's aren't as good, or even better in some ways, it's just that none of them have the same magnetism in the personality department. This is why it's my favorite entry in the series, even if I couldn't quite say it's the best one.  Indeed, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker suffers from some archaic mechanics, its fundamentals not having aged quite so gracefully as its aesthetics. Its unwieldiness and occasional sluggish pace can, in fact, grow temporarily infuriating. However, the streamlined menu system and map access go some way toward making up for any setbacks, while the unmistakable Wind Waker charisma ensures you won't ever stay mad at it for long.  After all, in a world of greedy cartography fish and cynical French Minesweeper purveyors, how could you not keep smiling? 
Wind Waker HD photo
'Hoy there, small fry!
[Note: Join us Thursday @ 2pm PST for a live video + chat discussion about this review.] The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is easily my favorite Zelda game in the series -- a not altogether uncommon opinion, now that many y...

Review: Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX

Sep 16 // Chris Carter
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (PS3)Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixReleased: September 10, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Before the franchise was muddled with fractions in its titles and eons of "hearts darkness darkness hearts" dialog, there was the original Kingdom Hearts. Although it got a bit mystical and hard to follow at points, people fell in love with it, because it was a great action game that allowed them to adventure into the Cave of Wonders and befriend Cloud Strife over the course of an afternoon. It was an attempt to tug at all the right strings and feels of fans everywhere, and it worked. Kingdom Hearts puts you in the shoes of Sora, a keyblade wielder that has the power to travel across the universe and right as many wrongs as he can along the way. But he won't be alone, as Disney favorites Goofy and Donald will be there for emotional and practical support as you travel across lands like Aladdin's Agrabah and The Little Mermaid's Atlantica. Once the game gets rolling it doesn't really stop, as nearly every world will have you guessing as to who or what could show up, with some of the most top-notch voicework in the entire industry to boot. A few of the game's inherent issues are still there to rear their ugly head, however. It still takes a full hour to get started, after the intro, the beach, and Traverse Town are all said and done. There are still Gummi Ship sections that unnecessarily (although I'll fully admit that I do somewhat enjoy them) force you to wait before you explore new and exciting areas. But despite the lack of retooling in a few areas it's not completely same old Kingdom Hearts you know and love, as there are a few welcome mechanical additions on top of the obvious great looking HD sheen. For one, the shoddy L2+R2 camera system is gone, replaced by a sensible and modern right analog stick control system. You can also finally skip cutscenes on your first playthrough (YES!), so fans who have beaten the game more times than they can count don't have to sit through scene after scene when they can recite the lines by memory. Then, there's one major addition that's the biggest of all -- the fact that the HD set contains the Final Mix of Kingdom Hearts -- a version that was previously exclusive to Japan, and came with bonuses and additional content. For starters, a lot of the game's enemies are different compared to the original, and are otherwise remixed -- so it's not going to be exactly how you remember it if you haven't experienced Final Mix. There are also new weapons, items, abilities, and in-game story documents, as well as additional cutscenes, a few new bosses, and a revamped difficulty system that makes the Easy setting more accommodating and Hard more punishing. If you think back to playing Kingdom Hearts and cannot get past the Gummy Ship sections or the lengthy Beach and Traverse Town intros, I don't believe playing it in HD will magically change your mind. But personally, I think HD 1.5 ReMIX is worth it for Final Mix alone -- that's how good the original game is. Re:Chain of Memories is the second part of the compilation, and it plays a bit differently than the first entry. Okay, it's completely different, as it's one of those card combat games. Wait, where are you going?! Re:Chain is actually a solid remake of the GameBoy Advance game Chain of Memories (making this an HD remake of a PS2 3D remake), and adds a bit more action-oriented combat to the mix to help ease in those who normally cringe at the mere mention of "cards." My opinion on Chain of Memories itself is a bit mixed, as overall it's not really what you'd call an essential part of the franchise, but the experience itself does augment the overall narrative, and it manages to stay particularly engaging because of the sheer depth of the card based systems. Unlike other games in the series which may re-tread into exact locations, Re:Chain actually feels pretty justified because it's a direct companion piece to the original. It won't sell copies of this compilation, but it'll surprise some people. The third and final piece of the puzzle that is 1.5 ReMIX is the inclusion of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 as a non-playable feature film that's nearly three hours long. For the uninitiated, 358 is a DS game that takes place after the first title chronologically and tangential to Chain of Memories. Due to the limitations of the DS nearly all of its environments were completely recycled, and as a result, not many people played it. Because of the general disinterest in this forgotten entry, I really like this move to make 358 into a movie (that's fully voiced now, no less), so series fans who may not want to drudge through the tedium can still experience a piece of Kingdom Hearts history. The playback system itself is fairly rudimentary, but it thankfully lets you choose between various chapters like a DVD menu, and continue where you left it should you walk away or doze off. But at what cost does 358/2 grace the rather limited space in this trilogy? Put simply, if this is a compilation of the beginnings of the franchise's story, the lack of inclusion of Birth By Sleep is criminal. As the very first game in the timeline, many would argue that it's best in the entire franchise, and the most worthy of a remake given the fact that nearly every single location is brand new. As a series fan I consider it so essential that even if Birth was just a movie remaster it would be extremely welcomed -- but alas, it's not here, and you won't get the entire story of the early timeline without busting out your PSP. All we can hope for is a HD Remix 2.5 inclusion to wrap things up for newcomers before the long awaited Kingdom Hearts III. Barring a few antiquated (but manageable) mechanics that are still in place in the first Kingdom Hearts, HD ReMIX captures the essence of the franchise quite wonderfully. For those who are wondering, it's still fun to roam around and wreck shop as Sora, Goofy and Donald, and for many people, this is the first time you'll ever experience it in its Final Mix incarnation.
Kingdom Hearts HD review photo
Bringing back great memories
Some of my fondest memories were spent with the Kingdom Hearts series. Growing up equal parts Disney-kid and action-adventure fan, I was ecstatic when Kingdom Hearts was announced, and enthralled for weeks on end when it fina...

Zelda photo

Nintendo experimented with Skyward Sword in HD

And Twilight Princess!
Sep 11
// Jordan Devore
Turns out you guys have strong opinions about which Zelda titles, if any at all, you'd like to see remastered in high definition. While Nintendo ultimately went with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the time being, ...
Kingdom Hearts HD photo
Kingdom Hearts HD

Reminisce with Sora in this Kingdom Hearts HD trailer

Get reacquainted with Mickey, Sora, and HD
Sep 11
// Chris Carter
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix launches this week, and you can celebrate with a brand new launch trailer showing off the game's various Disney flavored locales. Watching it brings back memories, as it's over 11 years later and ...

Assassin's Creed Liberation HD coming to PSN, XBLA, PC

Reworked from the ground up
Sep 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
That's right! The Vita darling is going all HD for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC early 2014. Development started shortly after the Vita release thanks to how the fan base reacted so positively to it after the E3 reveal...
Kingdom Hearts HD photo
Kingdom Hearts HD

This new Kingdom Hearts HD trailer brings back memories

A look at Re:Chain and 358/2
Aug 30
// Chris Carter
In just a few short weeks you'll be able to play a trio of Kingdom Hearts games in HD in the form of HD 1.5 ReMIX, which features the original Kingdom Hearts, Re:Chain of Memories, and a movie version of 358/2 (okay, so the ...
Final Fantasy X/X-2 video photo
Final Fantasy X/X-2 video

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD has over 60 remastered tracks

It's got the looks and the sounds
Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
Curious why Final Fantasy X HD and Final Fantasy X-2 HD are taking so long? Square is doing quite a polish job on them, that's why. In addition to doing things like adding a whole new 30-minute scene. This latest video, whic...
FFX HD photo

Look at a set of battles side by side in SD and HD FFX

Plus, check out the new soundtrack
Aug 23
// Chris Carter
A new taste of Final Fantasy X HD is in the wild, and this time we get a taste of the arranged music, as well as a bit of battle gameplay. You'll be able to hear the slight differences between the old and new tunes, as well ...
Wind Waker HD details photo
Wind Waker HD details

Wind Waker HD is a 2.6GB download of fuzzy feelings

Second wind (waker): Legend of Zelda eats up all the bytes
Aug 19
// Steven Hansen
I don't think I ever get tired of looking at Wind Waker. Winder Waker HD is dropping soon (October), so you better set aside a good chunk of time to delete all those games off of your Wii U to make some room. The game, now ov...
Castlevania HD photo
Castlevania HD

Castlevania: Mirror of Fate HD officially confirmed

Tread lightly, vampire hunter
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
First it was rumored, then it was rumored again, and now, it's official -- Castlevania Lords of Shadow -- Mirror of Fate HD will drop on October 21st on Xbox Live and the PSN. Not a whole lot of details were given (including ...
Castlevania: Mirror of Fa photo
Castlevania: Mirror of Fa

Castlevania: Mirror of Fate HD rumors surface again

A PS3 and Xbox 360 bundle listing emerges
Aug 15
// Chris Carter
If you've been itching to get into the Lords of Shadow sub-franchise but haven't done so yet, you may get a chance to try everything at once if this PS3 and Xbox 360 listing is to be believed. Apparently, All Games Beta has u...

Dead Island MOBA, Carmack Goes To Oculus & Double Zelda!

The Destructoid Show drops its ice cream cone
Aug 09
// Max Scoville
Here's today's not-live Destructoid Show! On which we discuss the following:  There are two new Zelda games coming out this fall, let's look at videos of them! id software co-founder John Carmack is now working for Ocul...
Wind Waker HD gameplay photo
My most anticipated Legend of Zelda game since The Wind Waker
Yep, I'm definitely more excited for The Wind Waker HD than A Link Between Worlds. I'm not trying to wind you guys up, really. Wind Waker is just one of the few Legend of Zelda games that I really dig and everything about se...

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