Mario Kart 8 has unveiled two "new" characters. They are Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach. What the heck, right? You're probably rolling your eyes at the lack of surprise with Baby Rosalina (who's joining Baby Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Daisy), but Pink Gold Peach?
Think Metal Mario, but a more precious, royal metal (gold) and then pink because femininity is pink even though I'm wearing a pink shirt right now and I am super manly. Seriously. I am eating a pound of salami and a half pound of cheese for lunch.
When Ubisoft revealed that it was working on an old-school JRPG with modern visuals, I was utterly surprised. It's not really in its wheelhouse, and the striking visuals of Child of Light were immediately apparent -- even more striking than either of the recent Rayman games, which utilized the same UbiArt engine.
Now that it's finally here, I'm pleased to say it looks even better in action, and I'm eager to see what the team can do with this formula in the future.
The developers at Toys For Bob are back in the saddle with Skylanders Trap Team, the next entry in their hit toys-meet-videogame franchise. This time the hook involves you capturing villains and enslaving brainwashing reforming them to work for you. Same overall formula where you use Skylanders both old and new, but now you have the aid of all the bad guys.
This means a new Portal of Power, plus a whole new set of toys specifically designed for capturing the villains.
The delay of Ubisoft Montreal's new open world IP, Watch Dogs, surprised many. With only a month away from launch, and a rather bold marketing push for the holiday season, Ubisoft appeared ready, but then we found it wasn't. At all. It's not too often you see publishers holding back a game's release to further development, and it's certainly admirable of them to be so honest.
"The game wasn't finished," said lead game designer Danny Belanger rather bluntly. "You see all the content we have, there was a lot of different parts of it that were not at the level we wanted -- so it was hard, there was a lot of others reasons too, but at the end of the day, we didn't want to release the game in state we weren't happy with."
With its May release approaching, Ubisoft is ready to unveil its upcoming open world action title, and the publisher invited the press to get plenty of hands-on time with the game. As you can tell with title, I came away pretty pleased, though I have some reservations still.
So far, the Batman Arkham Origins Season Pass has been a steaming pile of poop. Buyers have received some extremely underwhelming skin packs, and a piss-poor series of challenge maps for their cash, with the promise of another "story" addition down the line.
When I heard that said story DLC would feature Mr. Freeze however, I couldn't help but at least get marginally excited. As one of my favorite villains in all of Batman lore, it would be really hard to screw up a narrative involving the iconic frozen doctor.
NES Remix was able to scratch an itch for many retro enthusiasts out there, but it lacked a certain spark that made it a must-buy for the average gamer. It would be hard to really consider half of the selections "classic," and it lacked any real extras beyond a hit-or-miss array of remixed stages.
But the second time is a charm in this case, because with heavy-hitting newcomers like Kirby's Adventure, Punch Out!!, and Metroid on top of returning franchises like Mario and Zelda, NES Remix 2 really knocks it out of the park in terms of its selection.
Here is a blowout gallery of 130 new screenshots from the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., featuring new looks at new characters Zero Suit Samus, Yoshi, Sheik, Charizard, and Greninja. This comes hot off the Nintendo Direct broadcast that featured these new guys.
My favorite of the bunch is the one above. It depicts all that is right about videogames today, though Luigi getting busted in the nose by Samus' knee is also great.
Nintendo has dropped a huge bomb on us at the start of the Smash Bros. flavored direct. The 3DS version will be released this summer, and the Wii U version will be released this winter. Yes, that's months after the 3DS iteration.
Wow! That's one way to get you to buy the game on 3DS. Smash director Sakurai notes that the 3DS version will run at 60fps, even in 3D, but some of the Pokemon will run at 30fps. It looks pretty great so far, but I know more than a few people will be pissed at this development.
Last year, the news of Ubisoft making an old-school throwback to the JRPG genre took a number of people by surprise. When Destructoid got the chance to check it out, there was a healthy amount of curiosity around it. Not too many people knew what to make of it, especially considering it was coming from the team that made Far Cry 3, which is a title that seems very far apart from it.
But after spending some time with Child of Light, about three hours to be exact, there might be more in common with these two titles than you think. I got the chance to talk with lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem, and saw what passion and a small team working on a unique throwback to JRPG titles managed to come up with.
As an institution within the videogame racing genre, Mario Kart has always been an example of what arcade style racing is all about. Focusing on simple, pick up and play gameplay, while still offering high level skill based action, the Mario Kart series has been going strong for over twenty years; and it doesn't seem like it'll stop any time soon.
Now, the series is finally taking its first steps onto an HD platform, and after spending about an hour of playtime with it, I just don't see how they can go back after this. I'm just going to come right out and say it: Mario Kart 8 is one gorgeous game.
As the first full HD release of the series, the developers at Nintendo went the extra mile with creating a game that is visually spectacular, but also the most content rich game of the series.
Sonic Lost World may not have met everyone's expectations, but two free pieces of Nintendo-themed DLC sits right with me. We already got a chance to play the 2D Yoshi's Island-themed add-on back in December, but now Link has teamed up with Sonic for a grand 3D adventure.
Just like its predecessor, the "Legend of Zelda Zone" is very brief, but it's a wonderful glimpse into what Sega and Nintendo can accomplish together.
Donkey Kong Country Returns was one of my favorite platformers of the last generation. It had charm, challenge, and most importantly -- it was a ton of fun. But one of my only hang-ups with the Wii version was the lack of control options, and the forced implementation of Wiimote controls.
With that out of the way compliments of a host of controller choices and many more improvements, Tropical Freeze is somehow even better than Returns.
At the "Year of Sonic" event, Sega has revealed Sonic Boom -- a new sub-franchise in the Sonic world. The new brand will not only sport the previously announced TV show, but two new games on the Wii U and 3DS. This is part of the exclusive deal with Nintendo.
The Wii U game will be headed up by developer Big Red Button (led by a former Naughty Dog art director), and the 3DS version will be handled by Sanzaru Games (the studio that developed the new Sly Cooper). The games will serve as a prequel to the CG TV show.
We didn't get a hands on session, but based on the footage we've seen of the Wii U version, the worlds look massive (although it is confirmed that it is not one open world), and projectile combat seems to be in. In other words, Sonic Boom is looking a lot like Ratchet & Clank right now. It's also important to note that the CryEngine 3 will be used on the Wii U, and that this version is confirmed to support co-op play.
Sega of America president and COO John Chen stressed that "Sonic Boom will not be replacing the original franchise."
Nintendo released their third quarter financial results which revealed an operating loss of over $15 million due to poor Wii U sales. While it wasn't totally bleak in sales in some regards, the company overall failed to meet revised sales projections thus causing Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to cut his salary in half.
So now what? Iwata just held a press conference in Japan tonight and detailed what his plan of attack is to turn the company around. For starters, Iwata stated that they won't be abandoning its hardware business, and game consoles will continue being the center of their strategy. That said, he admitted that adapting to change is necessary.
A revamp to their marketing is coming, with a big focus on the GamePad and it's capabilities, such as pushing the NFC function (tech similar to what Skylanders/Disney Infinity does). He admitted that the Wii U's weakness is the GamePad in that the recognition is low, and that people think it's an accessory for the Wii. Turning this around is the company's highest priority, such as how they'll be revealing new NFC titles at E3. They won't be cutting the price, however. We can also expect high-speed startups, so for instance you can instantly dive into games through the GamePad as your TV is powering up.
When Retro Studios' Donkey Kong Country Returns released for the Wii in 2010, I was ecstatic. Since I was 13 years old when I played Rare's original Donkey Kong Country for the first time, I marveled at its solid platforming and varied level design. Returns proved to be as solid in gameplay ideas as the original franchise, and when it was re-released in 3D for the 3DS, I did not hesitate to purchase it again.
Next month, Retro Studios is releasing a sort of sequel to Returns in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. After experiencing a solid four-hour chunk of the game that gave me enough time to get to the very end of World 4, I am glad to report that Tropical Freeze won't be just another by-the-numbers sequel, but an engaging addition to the revamped franchise that adds some intriguing new mechanics while taking out minor annoyances of the original Returns.