Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS was everything I hoped it would be. It rekindled my love for the franchise after my group of friends and I lost interest due to Brawl, and I'm playing online more often than I would with most fighting games. In pretty much every aspect, the game is a success in my eyes, and it seems that sales agree.
But of course the main event is one that can be seen on a glorious television, with four (now eight) players all clamoring over some drinks and having a great time. In that regard, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U might be the best iteration yet.
We were lucky enough to have Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion,Monkey Island) on Sup Holmes a few weeks back. Looking back, it looks like Ron may have been utilizing the show for a little pre-kickstarter promotion. Explains why he did the whole show in pixel-face. Fine by me. I'd have his pixel-faced puss on the show every week if I could.
Ron hinted that he may be working with original Maniac Mansion artist Gary Winnick again soon, but I didn't think it would be this soon. But here we are, looking at a new SCUMM-style game from the creators of the term "cut scene" and the fathers of an entire genre. As a longtime fan of Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, and the first two Monkey Island games, I'm feeling like this all over again.
It's a murder mystery that contain hundreds of locations and puzzles, all centered around Thumbleweed Park, a town that "...once boasted an opulent hotel, a vibrant business district and the state’s largest pillow factory, but now teeters on the edge of oblivion and continues to exist for no real reason." Sounds like a cross between Twin Peaks and Waiting for Guffman. Outside of Ron getting the rights to make a new Monkey Island game, this is about as close to perfect as it gets for fans of classic Lucasfilm Games.
For a couple months now, I've been thinking about getting rid of my Pokémon collection.
My favorite part of the series is catching 'em all and for years that motivation has fueled my interest in these games. I'm not into forming the ideal team, breeding Pokémon with perfect stats, or finding shinies. Just acquiring them -- all seven hundred of them -- one by one.
With Pokémon X, I finally did it. It took months of whittling down a giant list of absences in my Pokédex but thanks to in-depth online resources detailing locations and catch rates, an active community of online traders, and the ability to easily transfer old legendaries and stragglers from past titles, I did it. I earned a little crown in my National Pokédex signifying 100 percent completion. (Though, admittedly, I never bothered to get #719, Diancie. Whatever.)
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire release this Friday and I thought it would be fun to start over. To work my way back up. But rather than let my Pokémon X save file go to waste, I decided to use the Wonder Trade feature extensively. It matches two players at random for a blind online trade and while most people exchange total crap, there are kindhearted folks who take pleasure in handing out rarities. I'm far from innocent, but I've given back on occasion.
Now, originally, my plan was to give away every last one of my Pokémon via Wonder Trade (excluding restricted Pokémon obtained from distribution events). I mindlessly made it to around 80 trades before realizing this was a bad idea and started questioning my sanity.
Back in 2008, LittleBigPlanet was a staple in the Carter household for a good year. It was tough to put down as we earned a full 100% completion rate, and creating levels for each other was a joy. Floaty physics hate be damned, not every level was a Super Mario Bros. clone.
When the sequel hit though, it didn't have a whole lot that was new about it to entice us further, and it fell by the wayside. Similarly, LittleBigPlanet 3 doesn't shake things up from the core formula, but the sheer commitment to keeping the level-building platform intact after all these years is something special.
For a franchise that’s continually berated for remaining the same over the years, Pokémon is wildly successful, having pushed forward on its own, full speed ahead. It hasn’t needed to change much to sweep the nation with each new release, though some of the series’ newest releases have received criticism due to lack of content. Pokémon X & Y hit the 3DS in 2013, enticing us with gorgeous new scenery, brand new monsters.
However, X & Y, although introducing the new Mega Evolution element, were otherwise lackluster when it came to post-Elite Four content and seemed a bit of a step back feature-wise. Game Freak is remedying the situation by releasing a Pokémon game that's been celebrated as having a plethora of features and is a perennial fan favorite. Oddly enough, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire feel like a much more complete experience than the original titles or X & Y.
A cursory glance at Upper One Games' Never Alone, while sure to impress, won't do it justice. Its appeal is obvious, but its intention is buried shallow under a light dusting of snow. But, it's that intention that transcends Never Alone from another gorgeous 2D platformer to a game of great importance.
Never Alone is the rare example of a title that aims to bring culture to its audience without forcing it upon them. It skirts the oft-annoying "edutainment" category by being a game first and foremost, but is nevertheless adept at instilling a sense of curiosity about history and beliefs of the people on the screen. The execution is undeniably flawed at times, but not enough so as to undo what it strives for -- to teach, and to make that process enjoyable.
[Bumping this guide from July 2014 as-was in anticipation of Smash Bros. week, the holidays, and some new Wii U owners. The only good "Black Friday" deal for the console seems to be $360 from Best Buy with Smash, Donkey Kong Country, Mario 3D World, and Nintendo Land.]
Even if you must play all the Hot New Games, you don't need a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One to do so until 2015. Enough of them are still releasing on PS3 and 360 this fall. The rest, on PC (and, for some of us, handhelds).
With the recent release of Mario Kart 8 and the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros., you might consider buying a Wii U, though.
I've been playing World of Warcraft off and on since it launched in 2004, but the Burning Crusade expansion came at the perfect time in my life. Throughout the years I've been dabbling in the other expansions, leveling up my characters and only stopping to raid mostly in Lich King before taking it casual.
If my first 20 hours or so with Warlords of Draenor are any indication, I might get back into it.
Grand Theft Auto V was one of my favorite games of last year, mostly due to the insanely fun Heist missions in the campaign, and the detailed sandbox of Los Santos. It suffered from some of the same trappings as every GTA and the online portion left much to be desired, but I had an enjoyable time overall.
Although I received it late, I got a copy of GTA V for the Xbox One early this morning and dug right in. So far, I haven't found any real problems with it.
It feels like only a few weeks since Five Nights at Freddy's managed to completely ruin my childhood memories of family restaurants and dancing animatronics. The creepy horror/resource management game put you in the shoes of a night security guard at the world's worst Chuck E. Cheese's knock-off and made sure you'd never look at those restaurants the same way again after viewing them through the distorted lens of static-ridden security cameras.
Now, just after I've managed to sweep up the jagged psychic debris of that disaster, they want me to spend another fun-filled week at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza.
Mario Kart 8's first DLC pack has Link riding a horse-shaped bike called the Master Cycle. And, good lord, Mute City from the beloved but still dormant F-Zero series. Also, a track based on Excitebike with a killer remix. Are you even going to read this review?
Lords of the Fallen and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare just came out and they should be laughed out the damn building for their horrible, generic videogames names.
I originally typed "Armored Warfare" and was confused when Google failed to bring up results for our "Call of Duty: Armored Warfare" review. Then I realized it was "Advanced Warfare" after remembering I kept getting it confused with Advance Wars originally.
Far Cry 3 was one of my favorite games of 2012. It didn't stray too far from the normal sandbox conventions set before it, but gallivanting around beautiful island vistas and flying about with wingsuits was pretty damn fun.
For some that wasn't enough, though, and for those folks, Far Cry 4 won't be enough either. But for me, it's still pretty damn fun.
I love fighting games. Well, I love pretty much all competitive games, but fighting games are some of the most satisfying. Pulling off combos (or kombos), discovering new "tech," and watching the metagame develop are all super exciting! I've played and enjoyed plenty online: Super Street Fighter IV, BlazBlue, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Divekick, Skullgirls, and even Smash Bros. Brawl.
But none of them have matched the enjoyment I've had in my short time playing Smash Bros. for 3DS online. Allow me to explain.
Ever since its 2007 debut, the Assassin's Creed franchise has been presented as a one-sided affair. Chronicling the persistent struggle between the Assassins and the Templars, Ubisoft has always framed the story casting the former in a positive light. Assassin's Creed Rogue has a new take on that formula, which, in some ways, makes it the most refreshing, thought-provoking, and introspective installment in the series to date.
The Tales series may not have the same cachet in the West as do other prominent role-playing game franchises, but its renown is definitely on the rise. Bandai Namco has expressed more confidence in the franchise in recent years, showing a willingness to push Tales as a global brand rather than just a curiosity for Japanese audiences.
It seems there's a market for this sort of thing -- a healthy niche that appreciates something more antique in a world so obsessed with pioneering and being cutting-edge. Time marches on and the Tales series digs its heels into the ground, refusing to yield to fads and ephemeral trends. It's old-fashioned to a fault. But would you have it any other way?