Alternative title: ďTropical Freezeís soundtrack is spectacularly brilliant.Ē
So yeah, itís that time of year again! Last Saturday was April 12th, which marked the end of my 23rd year of being. To be fair, Iíve never felt like I aged a day past 18 (as a result Iím one of those people perfectly capable of forgetting their own age), so the difference between being 22 on April 11th and 23 on April 12th is marginal at best. Regardless, I like birthdays: theyíre a nice chance to catch up with those friends I havenít had the opportunity to talk to in a while, and more in general I think itís a really special thing that every year for every person we set aside a day to celebrate that personís life/existence. I guess not everyone sees it like that anymore, but itís quite something if you think about it.
And then, of course, thereís the games! What would a gamerís birthday be without getting at least some new games to play, right? And I gotta say, this year I left with quite a haul!
Each year my friends ask me what they can get me for my birthday besides boring old money, and each year I send them a link to my Steam wishlist and tell them to go wild. And go wild they did! For my 23rd, my friends got me a total of four new games on Steam, namely:
- The Stanley Parable - Luftrausers - Contrast - and a preorder for Child of Light
I pretty much have the best friends.
While Iím going to have to wait another two weeks before I can claim the last one (which is looking to be a beautiful fairytale-inspired JRPG), I already had some fun with the others. The Stanley Parable in particular is both fascinating and hilarious at the same time.
But thatís not all! My parents and family face the same dilemma my friends do, namely that they never know what to give me unless I supply some suggestions for video games. For my parents I tend to stick to console games rather than Steam, because honestly I donít trust them to operate Steamís gifting service. Since this was the first birthday on which I owned a 3DS, not to mention my handheld library was in desperate need of expanding, I received two new 3DS games:
- Fire Emblem Awakening - and Kid Icarus Uprising
I pretty much have the best parents.
I havenít had all that much time to play the former yet, but itís looking to be great from what Iíve already seen. Iím playing on Hard Mode rather than Normal, and even in the first few battles I had to pull out all the stops to get everyone through in one piece. I mean, I could have had Frederick just clean up everything, but I know enough about Fire Emblem not to let the early pre-promote soak up all that juicy EXP. Apart from that, I really like how fighting battles as a team has become vital in this installment, rather than just being mildly convenient as it was in previous games. As for Kid Icarus, itís a fun little distraction to be played in short bursts. I can overcome the common complaint of handstrain (from having to hold the 3DS in one hand) by playing it lying down on my back: Iím just about chubby enough that Iíve got my own make-shift table everywhere I go. At any rate, the gameplay is quite fun, but more than anything I like the witty banter between Palutena and Pit. Palutena in particular is immediately likeable and likes to reference the original Kid Icarus and even Super Smash Bros.
- What? It could happen!
Finally, my parents gave me enough money to buy a game of my own accord, which I wasted not a second to use for:
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Platformers are far and away my favorite video games, and no one does it better than Nintendo. With DKC: Returns, Retro showed that they got the stuff, but by all accounts Tropical Freeze is looking to be even better. The one complaint I had with the original, namely that the roll move was mapped to shaking the Wiimote, has been fixed as long as you play with the WiiU Gamepad. The game looks gorgeous, is fun to play, and has some stellar boss fights. Most notably for me, however, is the music. Goddamn this soundtrack is fucking amazing. Iím a huge video game OST buff, but Tropical Freezeís music has a good chance of becoming one of my all-time favorites. Itís that good. Whereas Returnsí soundtrack tended to get a little same-y with only a few stand-out songs, Tropical Freeze hosts an incredibly wild variety of tunes with almost all of them being memorable. Lots of cheerful songs in particular, which go well with the beautiful backdrops of this game's levels. Mind you Iím only up to the third World by now, so I havenít even heard half of it yet. †
I would recommend almost all of the above games to anyone (Contrast is pretty niche and I canít comment on Child of Light yet), but if youíre into video game music you at least owe it to yourself to check David Wiseís latest out.
All in all, lots of great stuff this yearís April 12th!
- Dear King, can we have this as our national anthem now?
It was probably the first game I ever realized a notable difference in FPS on. I still vividly remember the first time I played on an HDTV in my house. It was Modern Warfare 2 and I just loaded into a map with the P90. Skip to now with Titanfall on 360 and the 30 FPS can kind of murder it for me. I still enjoy the stompy robots and parkour though but its amazing the difference in FPS can do for you.
Of course, I'm having loads of fun using the Stryder and dashing around with whatever appropriate weapon I can for the strategy. Maybe it's the 40mm, maybe its the Arc Cannon. But regardless the fun of running around walls, double jumping, and knowing I'm guaranteed stompy robot fun is a pleasure on this game. There's nothing quite like turning on my dash core, and suddenly coming from behind an enemy titan to reach in and grab the squishy pilot innards quietly existing inside.
Speaking of game, I just introduced my girlfriend to Prison Architect, that expensive early access game that's pretty much Prison Tycoon. Now that is a game that is keeping my attention. Suppressing riots, rolling out armed guards, building massive expansions, obtaining grants, and more for the sake of keeping society's grumbling class within my walls. Her prisons tend to be relatively calm. Something I struggle with. But my prison's do bounce back rather well if I do say so myself.
Well, I don't have such big Striderisms today. I've been taking a beating from my schedule and even today I called out because in my struggle to keep up between school and Spring Break work at the D, I forgot I had work at 11:15am as I became conscious of it at 11am. And that was after coming home from work at 11pm last night and waking up at 10am from a long day that had class at 8am.
So basically, I've been all sorts of messed up. I feel like I'm constantly a day behind. After having the weekend before off, I've been struggling to keep up with work everyday straight with no end until next week.
Tiny, weak, little Wrenchisms today that will hopefully mutate into a swollen, pustulating, and radioactive blog in the near future.
NUCLEAR THRONE IS THE SHIT.
It's like someone inserted Super Meat Boy and Binding of Isaac into the Chernobyl reactor where the control rods where supposed to go and left them to cook. It's has the super fast action and instant re-playability of the former, and the procedural generated insanity and item stacking of the latter. It's still in early access (bugs and crashes are admittedly common) but it already tastes like greatness. Go get it.
Hello everyone! I'll be covering three days this week: Friday, Saturday AND Sunday! MacManus has some important business to attend to for the time being, so I'll be taking over Saturdays indefinitely, and Crackity Jones was busy having a grand time at PAX East, so Sunday fell into my lap this week as well. Somehow, there were still less blogs to read than a normal Friday, which was odd... PAX weekends always tend to be super slow for some reason.†
And speaking of PAX, there were a ton of cool indie games that were shown which I'm really excited about. Hyper Light Drifter, Below, Child of Light and Gods Will be Watching all look like games I need to play! The Indie Megabooth always seems to be the coolest part of PAX to me, and I'm glad to see it still didn't fail to deliver this year!
This just looks all kinds of AMAZING!
Unfortunately, I'll have to keep these -isms short. I wanted to post this up before work, and I'm quickly running out of time! Anyway, I'll see you all next weekend!
Today's Shadeisms shouldn't come as any kind of surprise. Come on, you can't expect a self-proclaimed Nintendo fanboy to keep quiet about Super Smash Bros. news, can you?
So like all of us, I watched the Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct last Tuesday (for me it was technically Wednesday, but whatever) and there were lots of things there for me to love. I'm excited about every stage having a Final Destination mode, I love the Kirby Airride-esque mode in which you have a time limit to find power-ups for the upcoming battle, and I liked lots of other things. Fennekin in a Pokťball, Mega Man's Final Smash, the absolutely fucking bitchin' rendition of the Skyward Sword main theme, and I could go on forever.
There are three things, however, that deserve their own little comment. First of all, the release dates. At first I was pretty miffed that they announced the 3DS version for Summer and the WiiU version for Winter, but I'm starting to see the point now. It looks like Nintendo really wants the WiiU version to be best and most inclusive one; the deluxe edition. Meanwhile, the 3DS is purely intended for those people (i.e. everyone) who want to take their Smashing on the go. I'm definitely starting to think about buying both versions of the game, something I never thought I'd do. The thing is, I'll be in the US come Winter 2014, and I won't have my WiiU with me, so the 3DS-version might be the way to go!
Second, Greninja. I'm a little conflicted about him. On the one hand he's an unexpected entrant and looks both cool and fun to play as. On the other hand, Smash Bros. has always been about celebrating Nintendo's super strong brands and history. In that sense Greninja, who is for all intents and purposes just an ordinary Pokťmon among 700 others, feels a little out of place. Especially since we could've had Mewtwo instead. I'm sure I'll be convinced of his inclusion once I get to play around with him a little though.
Finally, Zero Suit Samus. Sakurai trolled me hard on this one. When he announced that ZSS wouldn't be in the game anymore, I just about broke down crying. She's currently one of my two main fighters in Brawl (the other being Luigi), and I find her to be one of the most fun characters to play as. Yanking people down with your whip is incredibly satisfying, as is stunning them to set them up for combos. She's also nicely fast, compensating for her only so-so killing power. In fact, when I thought she was getting cut I seriously considered not buying the game anymore. Not out of spite or anything, but just because it wouldn't be as fun without her.
Luckily, Sakurai only left me in despair for a few seconds, and announced that she would be back. And man, does she look bad.ass.
I have no problem with her high heels (Jet boots with high heels make some sense I think, you need space for the main thrusters), and while I do think the huge boobs on her in-game model look a bit off, I can forgive anything now that she looks cooler than she ever has before.
As for changes to her gameplay style, I can do nothing but wait and see. Giving her more attack power is going to be massively helpful, but I hope it doesn't come at a price. Her speed in Brawl is without a doubt her main asset, and she can already combo shit like its nobody's business. Moreover, her Up-Air attack hits decently hard, is easy to set up and is one of the most satisfying moves in the game (just listen to that sound effect!). I remain cautiously optimistic about the changes she's getting for the new game, but I do hope she's not going to change too much. Again, something I'd love to find out for my own in a few months! †
I have mixed feelings about the reveal of Greninja. On one hand, Greninja is a cool Pokemon, and it was awesome that he got picked by his strength rather than the strength of his branding. Think of it this way I mean: who asked for Lucario? But he was picked because he was the the poster child for †Pokemon Diamond/Pearl and he headed his own Pokemon movie, Mewtwo was the original king of ubers back then, Pikachu is the de facto Pokemon, and Pokemon Trainer's Pokemon were the original starters. Charizard was even picked up because since X and Y's debut, he's been getting a lot of care and attention from Gamefreak recently. But Greninja? He's just a cool ninja. No movie, no representation. He's just been chugging along as a popular scout/lead with Protean to lend it some offensive punch.
On the other hand, he looks like another Mewtwo clone and not even the first one to do it.
There will obviously be some differences like Lucario being able to mega evolve in battle and Greninja being obviously faster and different physical movesets but I'd rather it go further then just what they do to every Fox/Captain Falcon clone they gut out. Even though I still prefer certain shotos over other counterparts, we still wish the similarities went further than the skin deep details. Three people had Landmaster final smashes after all.
But the Smash Direct very much supercharged my enthusiasm for the Nintendo brand. So much that it's too the point where I caught myself thinking of buying a Wii U for Smash Wii U. Obviously it would be a safe purchase, being the cheapest console with an expansive library with backwards compatibility. The BC might be the biggest thing too because I'm a poor, unfortunate soul who hasn't played Okami so buying a Wii U might be important. Not to mention giving Skyward Sword a fair shake, along with Wii U titles like Super Mario 3D World.
Of course, I already have a 3DS and am very much excited to get that as early as this summer. Very vague but very hype inducing.
As of now though, †mot of my time has been going to FTL: Advanced Edition though. I'm obsessed with unlocking more ships because frankly, unlocking ships is a feat unto itself. So many factors have to line up for certain unlocks. I mean, unlocking the Crystal Cruiser needs four random events to line up, in order, before you hit sector 8. Even something like the Mantis cruiser needs a bit of set up to working.
But I'm definitely enjoying the new equipment. Mind control is one of my favs, especially when combined with a slug crewmember who can psychically keep tabs on enemy crew. Screw the ship by mind blasting the pilot and watch the chaos that ensues that you can just drink up like a calorie crazy cat.
Watch out for a guide cause I really want to write one with a great headline I thought up. It only happens so often!