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Found 11 results

  1. Thanks to a group of Europeans stealing land from Native Americans once upon a time, people in the land of the free have a holiday where we give thanks for being able to consume very large amounts of food. This holiday is, of course, Thanksgiving. But as gamers, we have certain other reasons to be thankful. Whether a bad game got an overhaul and became good, a game was localized that we weren“t expecting to be, or a game is just sooooooooo good, there are plenty of games we can be thankful for. So let“s take a moment and give our thanks for 10 games that came out of 2013. Note: This list is in no particular order. They“re still numbered, though, because SHUT UP AND JUST GO WITH IT. #10 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Did you ever play Final Fantasy XIV when it was first released? Remember the disappointment? The anger? The murderous thoughts flowing through your mind? That wasn“t just me, was it…? Whether it was or not, there“s no question that many gamers were disappointed, and for many different reasons. So then Square Enix goes and listens to the angry letters and just sorta “rebirths†the game, breathing new life into it to create what is essentially the “A Realm Reborn†version. And guess what – the game is good now! So good, in fact, that I must give Squeenix my thanks. 14 of my thanks. ​ #9 Fire Emblem: Awakening A fact you may not be aware of, Fire Emblem: Awakening was almost the very last entry into the series. Prior to that game, sales were spiraling downward with each new entry. But all that changed when this 3DS title became a massive success in both Japan and the U.S. One could say Awakening was a big “awakening†for the franchise. …Okay, that was bad… But of course, the level of success this game was met with was met with for good reason – it kicks ass. If you think about it, this game kinda pulled a Final Fantasy, as it was almost the final game until it became more successful than expected. Though in Fire Emblem“s case, there were other entries before it, but that“s beside the point. And while we should all be thankful for this game being so good, I“m sure Nintendo themselves are very thankful for it saving their beloved franchise. ​ #8 Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Ever watched a Studio Ghibli film? You“ve sure been missing out if you haven“t. In fact, as a gamer who has been a big Ghibli fan since the days of Hayao Miyazaki“s Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, I“ve wanted to play a game made by the studio, in the same style as something they“d make, for a very long time. With Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, that dream finally became a reality. Obviously, Studio Ghibli didn“t create the game themselves, as Level-5 played a big part in its development, but still. It“s by no means a perfect game, but just the way it looks and feels gives me that Ghibli level of joy. And for that, I am truly thankful. ​ #7 EarthBound Sure, EarthBound actually came out for the SNES back in the 90s, but have you seen the price it goes for these days? You certainly can“t give anyone $100 and expect to walk away with the game, I“ll tell you that much. Well, maybe if they were old people selling it at a garage sale without doing any research, in which case BUY IT, BUY IT, BUY IT! Other than owning a legitimate copy, your only real option was always to, y“know, break the law. But in 2013, it finally happened. After gamers everywhere begged Nintendo for a re-release, whether through the Virtual Console on the Wii, Wii U, or 3DS, or just some collection thingy, the Big N finally gave it to us through the Wii U eShop. Thank you Nintendo. Now I can finally stop breaking the law. And for around $10, that ain“t bad. ​ #6 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies Remember the sequel to Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth? I wouldn“t be surprised if you don“t, seeing how Capcom refused to translate the game into English. And because of that, many gamers were wondering whether the 5th entry into the core series would suffer the same fate or not. Especially with Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney taking so freaking long. But alas, it happened. We were stuck with a digital-only release, keeping us English-speaking peoples from having a choice in the matter, but it happened. And not only was the game given a release that would allow to play it, but it ended up being a fantastic game in its own Wright right. Seriously, Capcom, I owe you one. Actually, I owe you about $30 plus tax. Which I paid. So I guess we“re even. Thanks anyway, though. ​ #5 Pokémon X/Y Pokémon was born way back in 1996. And ever since the first entries, whether you knew them as Pokémon Red and Green or Pokémon Red and Blue, the style of the following generations has largely remained the same, while receiving updates to accommodate the advancements in technology. And while the 5th generation, which included Pokémon Black and White, followed by Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, received a certain level of 3-dimensional upgrades, it wasn“t until the following generation that the series made its true transition into 3D. As far as 3-dimensional transitions go, Pokémon X and Y was seamless. The series was transformed while not taking away all we (the fans) had come to love from the series. It was time for an upgrade, and Game Freak, Inc. not only pulled it off brilliantly, but ended up creating quite possibly the greatest Pokémon generation to date. Thanks, guys, for making something so awesome. ​ #4 Tomb Raider There are times in a franchise“s life when its parents/guardians must make the decision to either keep it running the course it“s on or give it a reboot. And once Tomb Raider received its new guardians in the form of Crystal Dynamics, it seemed it was time for the latter option. And while some franchise reboots are…questionable (did you know Sonic “06 was intended to be one?), others manage to pull it off fairly well. In Tomb Raider“s case, we got a reboot that was actually a pretty fantastic game. No more was protagonist Lara Croft known as just some badass chick with some, uh, noticeable features; she was actually a deep, compelling character that the player could feel for (assuming they have emotions) in “Tomb Raider Reborn.†The game still has its flaws, but I still found the game to be quite a bit better than the original. Thank you for making a successful reboot, Mr. and Mrs. Dynamics. I appreciate that. ​ #3 Rocksmith 2014 Before you call me a cheater for throwing a 2014 game into a 2013 list, hear me out! Rocksmith 2014 was most definitely released this year; in October, in fact. The name of this game/educational tool/jam session? seems to fall in line with all those sports games that have the following year tacked onto the current year“s game title. But that“s not what“s important here. What IS important is the fact that Rocksmith 2014 is just plain awesome. It“s essentially the same thing as Rocksmith, but turned up to 11 (see what I did there?). Seriously, never have I had such an easy time attempting to learn guitar while also having a similar level of fun as when I play Guitar Hero or Rock Band. What Rocksmith helps me accomplish, Rocksmith 2014 does better. And for that, I am grateful. ​ #2 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Many a Zelda fan who was alive in the 90s will tell you that if they had to choose a favorite, they would choose A Link to the Past. Some will likely go with Ocarina of Time, but there“s no denying that A Link to the Past was a compelling game for a lot of people. So it“s exciting to see a sequel that takes place in the same world(s) (unlike the Oracle games and Link“s Awakening) and plays so similarly. And you know what? It might just be as good, too. Nintendo always has a knack for introducing new mechanics into a game, basing the game around that mechanic, and ending up with something truly magical. The whole Link drawing thing is actually really cool and adds an interesting level of challenge. There“s a lot more I could say about this game, but I“ll refrain from drawing out why I“m so thankful for this game. Just my saying it“s a sequel to A Link to the Past should be reason enough. ​ #1 Super Mario 3D World Back at E3, when Super Mario 3D World was first announced, many gamers were a bit disappointed by the way it looked. Unimpressed, a lot of people were asking Nintendo to just give us another Galaxy instead. But then more trailers were released, and people began giving their opinions a 180. And now that the game is out, we now know just how freaking fantastic this game is. Not only is Super Mario 3D World a really, really, really fun game for solo players, but when you play it with family and friends, the level of fun rises tenfold. Seriously, the sheer level of enjoyment I get from playing this game reminds me of why I got a Wii U in the first place. This game is bliss, Nintendo, and I am truly thankful for that. Do you agree with any of the games in this list? What games are you thankful for this year?
  2. Developer: Level-5, Studio Ghibli Publisher: Namco Bandai Platform: PlayStation 3 Release Date: January 22, 2013 ESRB: E10+ for Everyone 10 and up Ever since Level-5 and Studio Ghibli announced that they were working together on a video game, I had been waiting anxiously for its release. I wasn“t even sure if it would have been released outside of Japan. Thanks to Namco Bandai, however, it did (they even went as far as to give us a special edition with the exceedingly gorgeous Wizard“s Companion), and I“m forever grateful that we did get Ni no Kuni, because it“s one of the best games I“ve played in a long time. Ni no Kuni throws us into a world of magic and fantasy that we are familiar with in Ghibli films. This world is in need of saving from the dark djinn and White Witch, and that“s where our protagonist, Oliver, comes in. It may be a bit clichéthat Ni no Kuni is the tale of a random young boy that“s declared as the “chosen one†that will save the world, but there“s a sort of charm that exudes from it that you can“t resist. Our tale begins in the sleepy little town of Motorville, where Oliver leads a normal and happy life with his mother. His life is suddenly turned upside-down following an accident, however, and he learns that he is a wizard that must save a mysterious other world. Oliver, Drippy, Esther, and Swaine work together to mend the broken hearts of those in the magical world and ultimately prevent it from being destroyed. Their travels bring them to a wide variety of lands where they meet all sorts of interesting people and creatures. While I do wish that the exciting parts were spread throughout Ni no Kuni rather than being stuffed together at the very beginning and near the end, it“s worth playing until the very end. I guarantee that you“ll get that sense of achievement and contentment of just finishing a great game with a heartfelt story. Studio Ghibli“s involvement with Ni no Kuni definitely helped it form into a unique gem. The in-game graphics are perfect; it“s as if you“re right in the middle of an anime. The animated cutscenes, too, are the usual gorgeousness you would expect from Ghibli (though I wish there were more of them throughout the game). And then there“s the absolutely beautiful soundtrack composed by Joe Hisaishi. Each and every track in the game is perfectly arranged and orchestrated. The main theme is especially powerful and heartfelt. Hisaishi“s work in Ni no Kuni makes me wish the Wizard“s Edition had included a full album rather than a few select tracks! Ni no Kuni“s battle system can be described as something like a mash-up of Pokémon and a Tales game. While you can control and attack with Oliver, Esther, and Swaine, you“ll mainly be battling with little creatures called 'familiars.' There are tons of familiars throughout Ni no Kuni that you can tame, nickname, train, feed, and metamorphose. Each familiar has a first and second stage, and then two final stages that you can choose from. The large variety of familiars allows for lots of personal choice and attachment. There are so many cute and awesome ones, which makes it incredibly difficult to have just a select few on your team! Each member of your team can carry three familiars at once, and they are sent out in battle one at a time (where they can only be out for a certain length of time and then must “recharge†their stamina bar). While familiars all share the same HP gauge as their owner, each has their own stats, spells, and strengths and weaknesses. When your familiar is ready to metamorphose after gaining plenty of levels, you must feed them a “drop†that matches their sign. Then they revert to level 1 (while still keeping some of their old stats). Repeat the process one more time, and then you“ll be able to choose from two different forms for your familiar“s final stage. While the familiar system has a lot of depth and uniqueness to it, the battle system could use a tad more work. Ni no Kuni feels like an action RPG with turn-based elements, and that becomes a cause for some problems in many battles. Oftentimes your actions and attacks are cancelled when an ally or foe performs something with a cutscene. When this happens repeatedly and even right after the other, it can become incredibly frustrating. That“s one of my biggest gripes with battling in Ni no Kuni, along with some other minor things. Though it actually is a rather fun and interesting concept, and I did enjoy battling very much, I think it should have been a pure real time action RPG, a la the Tales series of games. Just the main story alone will take you a good 30 hours or so to beat. It obviously doesn“t stop there, of course. There“s a bevy of side-quests for you to partake in that offer not only more time to spend with the game, but lots of incentives. This includes money, great items and weapons, and merit stamps. The more merit stamps you get, the more completed merit cards you have to turn in for special perks. What kind of perks? Being able to move faster, higher chance of taming a monster, and finding very rare items after battle are a select few. The side-quests, or “errands†as they“re referred to in Ni no Kuni, vary in type. Many will have you mend the broken hearts of people across the world, which is as simple as finding the appropriate piece of heart from someone and giving it to the brokenhearted person. Other errands include bounty hunts to kill rogue monsters and taming specific familiars to show to a familiar enthusiast. The latter type of errand gave me a bit of trouble at one point, as it took me literally hours to tame one of the familiars he wanted. Oh well; such is life for a completionist! Errands extend to post-game as well. They aren“t the only thing that will keep you busy after saving the world, however. There are also other things such as catching and metamorphosing every possible familiar and gathering the remaining pages of your Wizard“s Companion. Not to mention achieving Ni no Kuni“s trophies – some of which are deliciously challenging. All of this is sure to please any completionist. I can“t stress enough how much I love Ni no Kuni and how much I want you to play it. Everything comes together into a spectacularly beautiful and charming package of a game. Not just a game, but also an unforgettable experience. An experience that made me feel so happy for once and helped me learn to love video games again. Regardless of how strongly it will potentially affect you in particular, Ni no Kuni is one of the best games out there and it“s one you should play sometime in your life. Pros: +Top-notch graphics and animation courtesy of the legendary Studio Ghibli + Familiar system is great and has quite a bit of depth to it + Phenomenal orchestrated soundtrack from Joe Hisaishi + Plenty of side-quests throughout and post-game Cons: - Battle system needs a bit more fine-tuning - While the story is fine, it isn“t the most original and full-fledged one out there Overall Score: 9.5 (out of 10) Fantastic Ni no Kuni is not only one of the best JRPGs of this generation, it's one of the best games, period. This wonderful marriage between Level-5 and Studio Ghibli deserves to be played by everyone.
  3. Free DLC is always nice! Namco Bandai is offering just that for the recently released Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. This free download is for a familiar to add to your team (monsters that fight for you in the game). The little guy is called a Draggle. It can learn Phantom Fangs Whirligig, and Hot Huff. And if you wish, you can metamorphose your Draggle into a Dragette, and then into a Dragamuffin or Bedraggle. Unfortunately, it's not an extremely rare golden kind, like the other DLC familiars we've seen for Ni no Kuni! You can download the fiery dude starting February 12th. Have you been playing Ni no Kuni? Will you be downloading the free Draggle and adding it to your team?
  4. Level-5 recently opened their own North American office sometime last year, and they're already getting to work on localizing their first big project – Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for the PlayStation 3 (which will be published by Namco Bandai). Level-5 International America also appears to be working on bringing the games that are part of Guild 01 over here. Although they've not announced anything officially yet, Liberation Maiden and Crimson Shroud have had trademarks filed and game ratings pop up for the U.S. It seems, though, that Level-5's CEO, Akihiro Hino, has bigger hopes in mind for Level-5 International America other than localization work. Here's what he told Siliconera when asked what else the company could be doing: "Our U.S. office mainly works to efficiently release the Japanese titles that Level-5 has created overseas and they are involved in production and distribution in the overseas territories. With Ni no Kuni, they are helping bring it to the overseas markets and potentially with other titles. In the future, we would potentially like to develop title overseas where Level-5 International America is taking the lead on developing for the overseas market." What are your thoughts on Level-5 International America developing their own games?
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