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Review: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze photo
Review: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
by Chris Carter

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.

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Sega reveals new Sonic Boom sub-franchise and game photo
Sega reveals new Sonic Boom sub-franchise and game
by Chris Carter

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."

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Nintendo details plan to turn around Wii U sales photo
Nintendo details plan to turn around Wii U sales
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

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.

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Preview: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze  photo
Preview: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
by Casey Baker

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.

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Wii U development drama: Nintendo's box is a Nintendo-box photo
Wii U development drama: Nintendo's box is a Nintendo-box
by Steven Hansen

There was a bit of gloom and Nintendoom over the weekend. An anonymous, chronological account of Wii U development hit Eurogamer. It begins as early as Nintendo touring studios for feedback on its next console venture and ends with a seemingly stressful, rushed launch day release. None of it is particularly cheery, as the developer laments being "stuck" trying to make a game for an underpowered system amidst ever-changing development kits and poor communication.

It fits the narrative well enough. Nintendo is struggling to sell the Wii U. Even the likes of EA doesn't seem terribly interested in developing for it because a low install base can mean low sales.

Then, of course, there was response to the anonymous article. Apparently, "the Wii U is not more difficult to develop for than other platforms," says Renegade Kid's (Mutant Mudds) Jools Watsham.

Can't everyone be right?

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Should Bayonetta 2 have competitive or co-op multiplayer? photo
Should Bayonetta 2 have competitive or co-op multiplayer?
by Chris Carter

Bayonetta is one of my favorite action games of all time. Not only is it legitimately challenging even on hard mode (who would have thought), but it offers up that frame-perfect technical action you'd expect from a studio like Platinum Games, with a ton of weapon variety to boot.

Although we don't know much about Bayonetta 2, I'm still pretty excited given the team's pedigree, and the multiplayer mode has me intrigued. Going into 2014 and the inevitable release of more information on the sequel, I'm starting to wonder what Bayonetta would be like with another person.

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YES! New Arkham Origins DLC is likely Mr. Freeze related photo
YES! New Arkham Origins DLC is likely Mr. Freeze related
by Chris Carter

When the Batman: Arkham Origins Facebook page teased an event happening at the Humanitarian Awards, many of our readers guessed that it was a reference to an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Well it appears as if they're right, as the crew has just revealed a picture for a new story DLC coming in 2014, and it's completely frozen over.

Yep, although they haven't come out and said it, it's more likely than not that Mr. Freeze will be heading up this add-on. I don't have any real confidence in Warner Bros. Montreal in terms of producing DLC, but that doesn't stop me from rooting for one of my favorite Batman villains. I'm sure some people are tired of Mr. Freeze after Arkham City, but I can't get enough of him, personally -- and if done right (just rip off The Animated Series, guys), this DLC could have a pretty killer story.

Batman Arkham [Facebook]

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Review: Dr. Luigi photo
Review: Dr. Luigi
by Chris Carter

Dr. Mario is the bane of my puzzle gaming career. I loved it ever since I picked it up for the first time in 1990, but I've never really reached the point where I can say that I mastered it, unlike many other Nintendo releases.

Having said that, I've stuck with it all these years because the simplistic Tetris-like format works. Although Dr. Luigi doesn't really change a whole lot, it's still the same "Dr." formula you know and love, with a few welcome twists.

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Things the Wii U needs more than AAA third-party support photo
Things the Wii U needs more than AAA third-party support
by Jonathan Holmes

In the past, the success of a console and its number of marquee third-party titles engaged in a chicken-and-egg relationship where it was hard to tell which drove which. The NES had much more third-party support than the Sega Master System, and it was by far the more successful of the two. The SNES and the Genesis had about equal third-party support, and were also about equal in sales. The PS1 and PS2 had huge third-party support and huge sales. Did the third parties support the consoles because they sold well, or did they sell well because third parties supported them? Fans would argue either point no end, but regardless, the correlation between third-party support and consoles sales seemed pretty clear.

Until the Wii came along.

The Wii certainly got a lot of third-party games, but very few of them are what most of us would call "marquee" titles. On-rail shooter spinoffs of major action/horror series, strange cartoonish violent action/comedy beat-'em-ups, mini-game collections, and very little in the way of major AAA budgeted games. Yet the console managed to go on to be Nintendo's best-selling home system in history, and arguably the most influential and profitable console of the last generation. Similarly, the 3DS seems to be carrying on quite well for itself, with nary a AAA third-party game in sight, unless you count Resident Evil: Revelations and Monster Hunter 4.

This begs the question, does the Wii U need AAA third-party support to stay afloat, or are there other things that would be even more beneficial to the console in the long run?

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Review: NES Remix photo
Review: NES Remix
by Chris Carter

If you're a veteran of the NES era, you've played its countless classics many times before. You may have bought them multiple times, either out of nostalgia or for convenience when a new system arrives. Modern gamers may scoff at the notion, but classic-chasers persevere, because it makes them happy.

Leave it to Nintendo to invent a new way to play all these old games yet again in the form of the Wii U game NES Remix. The good news is, it's actually pretty fun -- if you can still stomach playing them.

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Impressions: Sonic Lost World Yoshi's Island Zone photo
Impressions: Sonic Lost World Yoshi's Island Zone
by Chris Carter

Nintendo surprised us all with a special announcement for Sonic Lost World -- the Wii U edition of the game will be getting two new Nintendo-centric DLC stages.

While the pricing model hasn't been revealed on the second add-on (which is strongly hinted as a Zelda stage), the first pack, the Yoshi's Island Zone, is completely free.

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Hyrule Warriors is Dynasty Warriors with Link in it photo
Hyrule Warriors is Dynasty Warriors with Link in it
by Kyle MacGregor

Nintendo has lost its mind. (In a good way. I think.) During this morning's Nintendo Direct presentation, company president Satoru Iwata revealed a collaboration with Tecmo Koei tentatively called Hyrule Warriors.

The working title looks to combine Dynasty Warriors' hack and slash formula with The Legend of Zelda's universe. Weird! It's coming to Wii U sometime in 2014.

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Impressions: Assault Android Cactus (PC) photo
Impressions: Assault Android Cactus (PC)
by Chris Carter

Assault Android Cactus has been gaining some momentum in the gaming community lately -- mostly because it's yet another title to join the ranks of supporting the Wii U. It also helps that it sports an incredibly cool-looking art style, and promises of hardcore gameplay to boot.

I got a chance to play the Early Access build, and I have to say, as a hardcore shoot-'em-up fan -- I can't wait for the final version.

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The best and worst games of the week - Xbox One is here! photo
The best and worst games of the week - Xbox One is here!
by Wesley Ruscher

After last week's PlayStation 4 review domination, Microsoft finally got it's chance to strut its stuff with the Xbox One. Forza Motorsports 5, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, Ryse, and a handful of other exclusive titles flooded our pages this week. But regardless of all the Xbox One hype, their games were far from the biggest titles of the week.

Two titles, fin fact, garnered our coveted 10 out of 10 score. Nintendo's Super Mario 3D World and from Little Big Planer creators, Media Molecule, Tearaway. If you've been holding out on either the Wii U or PS Vita, you may have just found your first two must have system-selling titles of the year.

Review Round-up: Week ending 11/16
Review Round-up: Week ending 11/9

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How to unlock Super Mario 3D World's secret character photo
How to unlock Super Mario 3D World's secret character
by Chris Carter

Super Mario 3D World has a secret playable fifth character, and it's not unlocked through normal means. Watch the above video to find out who it is, and how to go about obtaining the secret.

Be warned -- the video spoils the new character after the 1:00 mark with some gameplay. For everything else, I have a few tips below that should help you out come launch day.

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Review: Super Mario 3D World photo
Review: Super Mario 3D World
by Chris Carter

Mario and I go way back. Although I had dabbled in a few Atari games when I was younger, Super Mario Bros. for the NES was my first real game that I sat down and played from start to finish. Since then, I've collected and played every main series Mario game, adding a steady stable of all time favorites to my list. Why am I telling you all this, you may ask?

Because I want you to know that I have a basis for comparison for the newly released Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U -- so when I say it's one of the greatest Mario games ever made, I mean it.

It's one of the greatest Mario games ever made.

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