This one took a bit more time to come out than I would've liked, but here it is finally.
Part 1, which explains the premise of the articles, can be found here
3DS(bought 3DS XL):
Mario Kart 7 10:08
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages 8:19
Street Pass 2:54
Darksiders II 15:43
Rayman Challenges App 2:28
Runner 2 2:03
Ah, my first Nintendo handheld. Not sure what kept me away for so long, I have fiddled with most of them in stores and expos,
but somehow before the 3DS XL none of them really clicked for me.
Infact, few weeks after the original 3DS released I went to a store and tried it,
but I found my fingers very cramped on it and the 3D effect actually gave me nausea, however with the 3DS XL I experienced none of these problems.
On the games front I got Mario Kart 7 pre-installed and picked up Oracle of Ages from an eshop discount.
Mario Kart is really all about iteration at this point, and I think 7 iterated the formula well. The online functionality is best in the series to date, and I thought the progressive unlocks did a nice job of extending the single player.
Street Pass games caught me completely of guard. Initially I thought I wouldn't much care for this aspect of the 3DS, but it turned out, even now I find myself coming back to the Streetpass Quest in particular.
On the Wii U side of things I finally brought Darksiders II to a close, what a fantastic, if flawed game. It is truly a shame it is very likely we'll never see a sequel, as Darksiders II really captured some of my favourite bits of gaming and one was one of the truly epic games I played all year, both in terms of setting and the gameplay experience itself.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story 28:13
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros 14:47
Mario Kart 7 5:34
Batman: Arkham City 13:59
Runner 2 1:29
Donkey Kong (VC) 0:52
Got myself into some M&L games in July. I had always wanted to try Bowser's Inside Story and it didn't dissapoint. M&L games definitely feature one of the more interesting and nuanced representations of Nintendo characters as well as loads of gameplay.
I started Dream Team Bros basically the next day from finishing Bowsers Inside Story. Dream Team Bros seems to be a lot less loved of the 2, but playing them back to back I really didn't sense a massive drop in quality.
The way I'd put it is that Dream Team Bros is mechanically more interesting of the 2, while Bowsers Inside Story has perhaps the better overall story.
Both feature crushing levels of repetition, which I consider pretty much the only flaw in either.
Also got a bargain bin copy of Arkham City, which I had not played at this point. The 14 hours I spent on it in July were pretty much the only time I played the game. I can see why people would love it, but for me the game just doesn't quite click. At first it seems there is a great amount to do and see, but after a point I started finding the combat tiresome and the fact that riddler puzzles in no way affect the main game makes the secrets feel kind of pointless.
Donkey Kong is the 2nd time a Virtual Console game makes an appearance on this list of top3s.
What can be said about it, it was 30cents and despite the fact that I kind of suck at it, it is just about the perfect thing for lying on the couch with the Gamepad.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros 10:27
Mario Kart 7 1:44
Street Pass 1:21
Wonderful 101 Demo 1:45
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 1:20
It seems that my playtimes sort of go up and down from month to month, and I do admit Dream Team Bros middle-slog particulary takes its toll on you.
Wii U times in August came almost exclusively from a game night I hosted. I think Wonderful 101 might've been the first game I saw turning people's heads on the system.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros 24:27
Shantae: Risky's Revenge 2:30
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages 2:25
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 0:14
Dream Team Bros really kept on giving, fortunately it gets better and better towards the end, as the challenge ramps up towards the epic final battle. Truly felt like I had climbed a mountain when the end credits rolled.
Also got Risky's Revenge as I was looking into DS titles I had missed out on. Have to say it turned out be a classic and just the kind of game I enjoy.
Super Street Fighter IV 3D edition 39:39
Shantae: Risky's Revenge 5:55
Steamworld Dig 4:47
Wind Waker HD 21:58
Zen Pinball 2 0:17
You know what I've never liked about fighting games? The memorization and execution of all the fiddly special moves. Well did the bargain bin have a game for me then! It is so easy to play SSFIV3D ridicilous amounts on your 3DS. The online features work perfectly and the touch screen controls retain all the strategy and thinking involved in fighting games, whilst eliminating the muscle-memory related aspects. Perfect.
Steamworld Dig is a beautiful little game. The atmosphere is perfect. Some say it is too short, but I think it understand how many tricks it has and never attempts to pad out the game with trivialities.
Wind Waker HD is the first time I've played Wind Waker (the Gamecube is the only home console from Nintendo I've never had). I tried to keep myself relatively spoiler free even if the internet was treating the game as something known to everyone. After many nights of doing familiar and new Zelda stuff, I came out of the game thinking that it is quite incredible how fresh a 10 year old game can feel today. Also I think it has one of the better stories in Zelda games, with some particulary thought-provoking dialogue here and there.
Super Street Fighter IV 3D edition 30:35
Bravely Default Demo 18:39
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 12:20
Wind Waker HD 10:56
Pikmin 3 5:20
Super Mario 3D World 3:27
This is where the lineups on Nintendo systems started ramping up to a rather exhausting amount of things to play. Which was great!
Bravely Default Demo gave me about 18 hours of play, making it probably one of the most generous demos ever. For me JRPGs are really hit and miss. I love Xenoblade, but many of the more "oldschool" ones don't really do it for me. Bravely Default's combat-mechanics on the other hand are right up my alley. I loved finding new combos of abilities and I think it was a master stroke to have objectives in the demo to help you with the main game.
When I preordered A Link Between Worlds I was aware it might be "just" a new 2d Zelda game treading familiar paths, which I would've been fine with.
Instead it was quickly apparent it would be my favourite 2d Zelda game, period. I just find the gameplay so intrisically enjoyable in ALBW.
I think it is the first game where the 3D proposition truly becomes apparent, and a game that I played with 3D turned on from start to finish. Also while it seems many people didn't notice, the music in Zelda games can never be the same now. The tunes may be old, but the presentation had power and style unlike any other game in the series. A modern classic and a reason to own a 3DS.
Finally, almost exactly a year from Wii U's release, Super Mario 3D World arrived. I have to confess I was a bit worried when it was first announced.
It did not look like the game that would top Super Mario Galaxy 2, but the closer the release date drew and the more I saw from the game, the more exciting it started to look.
Playing it for the first time was an interesting experience. I have to say the first few stages didn't quite do it for me, also the controls felt a bit stiff after the all-powerful gymnastics champion mario from the Galaxy games. However I didn't have to wait too long, by the end of the first world it was clear things would not be ordinary and neat arrangements of themed stages, instead the game has a very strong air of its namesake Super Mario World. And it looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous.
Closing thoughts and my best 3 games from a year of Wii U (and a half of 3DS):
Looking back at the year I have to say Wii U's lineup didn't really start coming together before the end of the year.
This however was not such a big problem for me, as many of the ports from 360/PS3 were new games for me and the Wii U ports were in general of good quality.
For example I don't think I would've picked up Darksiders II if the system would've been flooded with great new games from the start, which would've meant missing out on one of the better gaming events I had all year.
The Gamepad for me quickly became a thing I don't want to live without. The convenience and comfort of playing so many games while my girlfriend was watching TV or I just didn't feel like sitting upright in front of it, meant that I probably did way more gaming than I would've otherwise.
I don't think at this point I would be happy with a console *without* such an option, so profound and delightful are the ways the Gamepad has changed my gaming habits.
A white 3DS XL became my first handheld Nintendo console, and it too provided me with unexpected amounts of entertainment and some truly great games. If I had to pick a high point for the system I'd go with A Link Between Worlds, the game shows all the reasons why you should have a dedicated handheld console and why it should have a 3D screen.
Playing something like A Link Between Worlds makes mobile games on phones and tablets seem crude and unpolished as a wooden stick is to finely crafted sword. It does not surprise me Nintendo does not want to make mobile games, as what they do in their better days with handheld gaming is in a completely different universe than what is currently being achieved on phones and tablets.
Now for the 3 games I played between November 30th 2012 and November 30th 2013 on both systems (in no particular order):
Super Mario 3D World
Wind Waker HD
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros
I won't go into the reasons why I chose these games, since I've said plenty about each. For me they were all memorable highlights of 2013 and games I'd recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. I hope my retrospective musings have been somewhat entertaining. It looks at this point the coming year will be very different for the Wii U and that the 3DS is anything but losing steam.
Both systems have already exceeded my capacity to acquire and play all the new games coming out, which I guess is a good problem to have. read