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Found 8 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Game of the Year 2016: Jason's Picks

    I'll skip the real-world comparisons and say that for the most part, 2016 was a pretty good year for video games overall. Two of the most long-awaited games finally came out (and not a moment too soon), and they were both surprisingly excellent. Many more great indie games made their debut, and I'm looking forward to catching up with a lot of them over the next year. And the 3DS had one of its best years yet in terms of RPGs for the handheld. Heck, we even got cool surprises like the NES Classic Edition. As usual, I want to acknowledge some of this year's runner-ups, such as Firewatch and Stories: The Path of Destinies; both of which nearly made my list. Coatsink's Shu also deserves a lot of credit for being one of the most original games I played this year as well. And last but not least, Overwatch is a game I wish I had spent more time with, but ultimately there just wasn't enough time to play everything. In any event, here are my top 10 games of 2016. 10. Fire Emblem Fates Fire Emblem Fates was far and away one of my most anticipated titles coming into 2016. Awakening was my game of the year for 2013, and now the series was plunging headfirst into a story that would see new protagonist Corrin split between two warring sides: his adopted family and the family of his birth. It was an interesting twist and a great setup for a potentially epic story and character-rich plot, even if the story gets away from itself a bit at certain points. The strategic gameplay is still as good as ever and I enjoyed pairing up various units to see how their relationships would unfold. 9. Abzu Confession: I was already completely biased in favor of Abzu from the start, especially since two of the three major creative people behind Journey (aka my game of the year in 2012) worked on it. Also, in light of that latter fact, it's also not surprising that Abzu is essentially Journey except under the water, in a sense. However, it does not out-Journey Journey, and that's okay. Abzu is a short but breathtaking experience, and Austin Wintory's woodwind-filled orchestrated soundtrack adds to the epic feel of swimming alongside majestic sea creatures and currents in exotic underwater locales. There's virtually no challenge to it, but I almost can't wait to dive back in and experience it all again. 8. Batman: The Telltale Series The last Telltale game I had played before this was The Wolf Among Us, which I really enjoyed, but for some reason I hadn't had the desire to play any more after that -- until Batman, that is. Unbeknownst to players at the outset, Batman: The Telltale Series exists in its own universe, meaning Telltale gets to tell Batman as they want to tell him. Everything you knew about Batman potentially gets thrown out the window, which is refreshing and exciting to me, and Telltale used this to their advantage to tell one of the best Batman stories of recent years. Also, it probably has the most exciting quick-time-event sections I've ever experienced. Season 2 can't come soon enough. 7. Star Fox Zero If you haven't played Star Fox Zero yet, you might be surprised to see it on this list. Aren't the controls terrible? Isn't it a bad game? And to that I say no, it's not a bad game. At all. The controls aren't 100% ideal, but they're fine once you get used to them for 30 minutes or so (with occasional spottiness). But underneath the stigma of its motion controls, Star Fox Zero contains one of the best Star Fox games, bar none. Platinum's signature is definitely felt in this game especially with certain levels that feature over-the-top action (especially some of the latter ones), and it was a joy to hear the new songs as well as new renditions of old classics. It may not be exactly what everyone wanted, but as a reimagining of Star Fox 64, it definitely achieves what it sets out to do (with a few twists) and be incredibly entertaining at the same time. 6. Paper Mario: Color Splash Paper Mario: Color Splash may continue the same direction that the much criticized Paper Mario: Sticker Star started, but I'll defend it to the death as one of this year's great titles. While the plot is still rather thin (pun not intended, I swear) compared to the first three Paper Mario games, Intelligent Systems gives Mario and friends more to work with in this game as he investigates why the color is seemingly disappearing from Prism Island. The new color system doesn't add a ton of depth to the card-based battle system, but it's used surprisingly well in various puzzles throughout the game. Also, Color Splash has a fantastic soundtrack and arguably the best/funniest writing in the entire series (The Thousand Year Door included), where each level is essentially a brand new scenario to work through (mini story arcs and all). What it lacks in the main plot, it more than makes up for in its witty writing and zany characters, making for a memorable Paper Mario experience. 5. Song of the Deep In many ways, Song of the Deep is this year's Child of Light. It's a fairytale/storybook plot featuring a little girl who goes on a journey, except this time it's under the sea. It's a shame that this game never got much more recognition than it did because it features some outstanding atmosphere and environments throughout. Insomniac Games managed to tell a touching story about Merryn's journey through the sea but also make a compelling, underwater Metroidvania world to explore at the same time. 4. The Witness As someone who enjoyed Braid (and especially its big twist at the end) years back, I knew I had to experience The Witness when it finally released (being from the same creator and all). While the decision to have no music is definitely strange at first, there is something really interesting about just having ambient rustling of leaves, the wind, and your footsteps as all you hear. The island you explore is incredibly beautiful thanks to the unique low-polygon style used but also hauntingly lonely. More than anything else, the combination of exploration and puzzles is what truly makes this a unique experience. The game teaches you organically how to think about the solutions to each puzzle, and the way that each area is divided into different types of puzzles is extremely well done. It is, without a doubt, the smartest game of the year. 3. Final Fantasy XV What a long, strange journey it's been for Final Fantasy XV. While it's definitely not the game that was originally presented to us at Final Fantasy Versus XIII, I'm thrilled to say that it turned out to be a good game in the end anyhow. It's not perfect by any means, with much of its world suffering from an identity crisis (is this a Final Fantasy world or is this Middle America with some fantasy elements?) and its main plot being a jumbled mess at points. Yet, Noctis and the bond between his three friends form the core of what makes Final Fantasy XV one of the best games this year. They go through quite a bit throughout the game, but none of their interactions ever feel forced, instead feeling like four good friends going a bachelor road trip before one of them (Noctis) gets married. Even though the broader spectrum of the plot (such as the invasion behind Insomnia) is somewhat lost in translation over the course of the game, Hajime Tabata and his team got the most important aspects right by honing on the relationship between Noctis and his friends, making the open world feel alive and worth exploring, and creating a fairly memorable villain that keeps you guessing as to what his motivations are. Also, the ending is definitely one of the more interesting finales in the series and will have fans talking about it for a while. 2. Dragon Quest Builders Minecraft is a game that has only ever vaguely intrigued me, but I still haven't had the urge to play it even in the midst of its insane popularity today. Dragon Quest Builders made me a believer in the concept by taking Minecraft's building and crafting elements and pairing it with objectives and an RPG plot that's surprisingly more compelling than it should be. Exploring each area of its rich world and gathering materials is just as much fun as building towns from the ground up, block by block. It could easily be a dull, grating experience but DQB makes the experience fun by giving you a wide array of building materials as well as objects and rooms to build. While the simplistic combat is perhaps the game's weakest point, Dragon Quest Builders is by far one of the deepest experiences I've played this year, and nearly everything about it from its addicting gameplay to its fantastic soundtrack make it an outstanding experience and one of this year's biggest surprises. 1. The Last Guardian Hoo boy -- where do I even start. The Last Guardian is, by all accounts, a game that very possibly could have come out and completely underwhelmed; after all, it was in development for some eight years (and more often than not, those types of deals tend to be disasters in the end). But somehow, some way, Fumito Ueda and his team at GenDesign pulled it off. By no means is it perfect; playing the game can be challenging at times due to some awkward controls and stubborness on Trico's part to obey at times, but the journey is worth it at the end and incredibly compelling. The Last Guardian has some of the most stunning environments and architecture I've ever seen in a video game. The visuals are breathtaking, especially when you're in the outdoors areas and see Trico's feathers glistening in the light and ruffling in the wind. The Last Guardian is triumphant, its story possibly exceeding what Team Ico had accomplished in its two previous games thanks to a touching narrative that is built on the relationship between the boy and Trico throughout their journey. I can't imagine how Ueda plans to top this, but I can't wait to find out.
  2. Today's Nintendo Direct brought quite a bit of new information our way. While no information was given about NX, Nintendo had plenty to spill on new games coming to both Wii U and 3DS, including announcements on some brand new titles. Check out the headlines below: Project Guard becomes Star Fox Guard; will be bundled with Star Fox Zero Remember Project Guard? It was a quirky concept that Shigeru Miyamoto introduced an E3 or two back that utilized the Wii U gamepad as a sort of security monitor that would have the player tracking different cameras around a complex of sorts while making sure enemy units didn't get past them. Anyhow, that concept has finally been realized as a real game that is now called Star Fox Guard in which players will set up 12 cameras to find and defeat enemies who are plaguing the mining site of Slippy's uncle, Grippy (yes, really). The game will offer 100 levels and the ability to create and share your own online, and will be included with the physical retail release of Star Fox Zero, all for $59.99 on April 22. You'll also be able to buy it standalone on the eShop for $15. Paper Mario: Color Splash announced for Wii U Hey, we predicted this last year (better late than never, right?)! Anyhow, after rumors abounded recently, it was confirmed today that a new Paper Mario game is indeed in the works for Wii U, and it's called Paper Mario: Color Splash. The game takes place on Prism Island, where the island itself has been drained of color, so it's up to Paper Mario to restore its color with his hammer. Apparently there is a battle mode, but not much has been shown of it just yet. However, the game is being referred to as an action adventure game, so this may be more of an extension of Paper Mario: Sticker Star than it is of the early RPG games in the series. Stay tuned for more information at a later date. New Super Mario Maker DLC adding keys, skewers, and more Super Mario Maker is the gift that keeps on giving as the Direct revealed that new DLC is coming that will allow you to shake a Thwomp in order to turn into a giant skewer (like the ones in Super Mario World). Also, keys are finally being added, meaning you'll need to find them to unlock certain doors in levels. Finally, a Super Expert mode will add six additional levels to play through, and 12 more Mystery Mushroom costumes are also on the way. Atlus' Fire Emblem spin-off finally has a name ...and it's called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (the last part is pronounced "sharp eff-ee"). I... still kinda don't get what this one is about, but apparently J-pop and fashion figure greatly into it, and it's still an RPG at its heart. In any case, expect to hear more about it soon as it's releasing on Wii U on June 24. Bandai Namco's Lost Reavers coming in April We first heard about Lost Reavers when it was announced as a free-to-play joint called Project Treasure last year. Now it's finally coming to Wii U on April 28, with a beta starting on April 14. It plays as a co-op action game where you'll team with other players online to fight zombies, solve puzzles, and find treasure. There's also a skill-based system and level progression for your characters, so if that appeals to you, keep an eye out when it launches in late April. Kirby returns to 3DS with Kirby: Planet Robobot and a new amiibo line Yep, a new Kirby game is upon us. This time Kirby will put on mech suits to dish out punishment against invaders that have mechanized Dream Land. Additionally, while piloting the mech, it will absorb any abilities that Kirby sucks up from enemies. Neat! The game will also contain a mode called Team Kirby Clash that allows up to four players with four different roles to team up against bosses and earn experience points that they can use to level up. Finally, a new Kirby amiibo line is coming! The new amiibo line features a Kirby variant with him riding a star, a Meta Knight variant, a Dedede variant, and an amiibo debut for Waddle Dee. Both Kirby: Planet Robobot and the four new amiibo figures will be releasing on June 10. Metroid Prime Federation Force coming this Spring Yup, it's still alive. After a less than welcoming reception from fans when it was announced at E3 last year, Nintendo confirmed that Metroid Prime: Federation Force is alive and well. A new trailer was showcased for the game, in addition to being confirmed for a late Spring release. Rhythm Heaven Megamix bringing the series' biggest hits to 3DS We knew it was coming sooner or later since it launched in Japan last year, but now it's official -- Rhythm Heaven Megamix is coming stateside and will offer 30 new rhythm games as well as 70 ones handpicked from previous entries in the series -- including the never-before-released-in-US GBA game. Rhythm Heaven Megamix is coming to 3DS later this year. Capcom localizing Monter Hunter X as Monster Hunter Generations in North America Another game we knew was coming sooner or later. Monster Hunter Generations is the follow-up to last year's Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and will feature crossover Fire Emblem costumes and bonus content if you have Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate save data present on the 3DS you play the game on. Monster Hunter Generations launches later this Summer. Medli and a season pass heading to Hyrule Warriors Legends On March 25, players will get to delve back into Hyrule Warriors Legends with brand new characters. One of those new characters was revealed to be Medli, who will be available as free DLC. Also, a transfer code will be made available to those who buy the game that will allow them to download the five new characters to the Wii U version of Hyrule Warriors. Additionally, players can buy a Season Pass for four upcoming DLC packs for the game; the first of which will include a new costume for Ganondorf. SNES Virtual Console games coming to New 3DS For the longest time, Nintendo fans have wanted Super NES Virtual Console games on 3DS, and now it's going to happen, albeit on New Nintendo 3DS exclusively. Super Mario World, F-Zero, and Pilotwings are currently available to buy on the New 3DS eShop right now. Then on March 24, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart and EarthBound will join the lineup, with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy“s Quest coming on April 14. The New Nintendo 3DS will enable a "Perfect Pixel" version of these games, enabling them to play in their native resolution, looking better than ever. Best of the rest Splatoon is getting some updates that will add some fixes and balances to weapons and matchmaking. Disney Art Academy is coming to 3DS on May 13. It is exactly what it sounds like. Bravely Second: End Layer is coming to 3DS on April 15. Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked members will receive a special 16 digit code to access the demo early on March 7. It will then go public on March 10 and allow players to transfer bonuses into the full game when they buy it. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past was given a new trailer but no specific release date just yet. It's still planned for Summer 2016. Fire Emblem Fates: Revelations is launching digitally for $19.99 on March 10 for those who don't have the Special Edition. Two new maps are being released for purchases today at the Dragon's Gate, and Royal Royale will be coming on March 17, with new maps coming every week thereafter until April 21. Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is coming to 3DS this Summer and includes Gunvolt's rival Copen as a playable character. As a promotion, the original Azure Striker Gunvolt is on sale for $9.99 on the 3DS eShop until June 1. Pocket Card Journey is a new game coming to 3DS courtesy of Game Freak, which meshes Solitaire with horse racing. It launches in May. Mini Mario and Friends amiibo Challenge is a free game coming to 3DS and Wii U that will let you use amiibo to play as 1 of 11 characters with their own specifically designed levels to play through. You'll be able to play the game through a download code provided with the purchase of an amiibo on March 25, or you can download it for free on the eShop starting April 28. Isabelle amiibo figure will be available for purchase separately on June 10, along with an alternate figure featuring her Summer outfit on the same day. Series 4 of the Animal Crossing amiibo cards will be available for purchase on June 10. Which announcements are you most excited about?
  3. In a year where we've already seen one big Nintendo game delayed (The Legend of Zelda for Wii U), the big N has unfortunately delayed another highly anticipated title -- Star Fox Zero. Shigeru Miyamoto took to Facebook to explain the reasons for the delay, citing the fact that the team needed more time to polish each level, perfect tone of cutscenes, and delve into making the game a better two-screen experience. He also acknowledges that though the game could technically be ready for a Holiday release, the delay will allow for polishing that will ultimately make it a much better game. The good news is that the game won't be delayed for too long. Nintendo is aiming to release Star Fox Zero in Q1 2016. Source: Facebook Are you disappointed that Star Fox Zero has been delayed?
  4. Jonathan Higgins

    E3 2015 Hands-On: Star Fox Zero

    Perfecting my high scores on Star Fox 64 was one of my favorite parts of being a kid. It“s one of the few hobbies I still partake in, and often, as an adult. I wanted to love every game that came after, whether we“re talking Star Fox Adventures, Assault, or Command. But nothing beats the game I grew up with. When Nintendo announced Star Fox Zero, my eyes lit up. It definitely seemed to embrace the fact that it was made with Star Fox 64 in mind wholeheartedly. And it borrows more than one concept from the fan favorite, too. But even though Miyamoto“s wording during the Digital Event may have been confusing, it“s definitely not a remake of the Nintendo 64 classic. It differs fundamentally in its sense of design (more on that in a second), and if it does match 64's place in the proverbial canon, it“s definitely taken some liberties with that game“s plot. The demo was a sizable chunk that had three phases. Phase one is the on-rails Star Fox action we all know and love. When Slippy had an enemy on his tail, I thought, “Okay, maybe this is a remake.” But then Falco — instead of being ambushed — suggested we take the back way to reach the tower where General Pepper needed to be protected. That definitely didn“t happen when I was a kid. After that, the game switched to All Range Mode and I was tasked with defeating ten enemies, then stopping a handful more on the ground from reaching the tower. After completing that phase, a boss attacked me. The boss could be defeated in one of two ways: either blast apart all four of its major components (this looked very satisfying, by the way), or fly inside the boss after destroying one of its components, then using your Walker mode to shoot the boss from inside the core. Here“s the thing about that, before I even go in-depth. One way, which I saw someone in front of me do, featured the words 'Mission Complete.' The other, core-destroying one, featured the words 'Mission Accomplished.' As fans of Star Fox 64 know, that word choice is most definitely indicative of branching paths, in terms of new levels that can be accessed each time you play the game. The game controls like a dream... mostly. You control the Arwing itself with the left control stick on the Gamepad. And the right control stick does things like brake (pull it back), boost (pull it forwards), and barrel roll (press either direction twice). Delegating those actions to the second stick on the Gamepad feels natural, and is a humongous improvement over any Star Fox air combat I“ve played lately. Laser-fire uses the triggers. You“ll feel super comfortable playing, I can guarantee that. If you press the A button, you can switch to the Walker. It“s kind of reminiscent of Landmaster controls if you do it on rails, insofar as you can hover upwards to shoot enemies that are hard to reach from the ground. In All Range Mode, you can move freely with it. It was fun to experiment with both forms of travel in all range mode, particularly when I was protecting the tower from these enemies that stuck to the ground. Sometimes it was easier to pick them off from the air, other times it felt beneficial to hit the ground as the Walker first, then hover slightly above them and snipe them with a lock-on shot. Just a few cautionary notes. One: Since the Gamepad is heavily involved for precise shooting (some enemies or parts of enemies are tiny and require precision), there is no map in All Range Mode... at least in the demo. I foresee things becoming slightly problematic if you“re trying to protect something or someone from enemies, and you have no clue where they are. I saw more than one person fail the “Protect General Pepper” phase because they genuinely couldn“t tell where an enemy was. The other grievance: gyroscopic controls sometimes messed me up. The woman demoing the game could tell this wasn“t my first rodeo. When the Arwing would face the opposite direction I wanted it to, or get all screwed up directions-wise, she told me I could correct the gyro on the Gamepad by pushing in the left stick. The fact that gyro needs to be consistently calibrated or corrected could lead to gameplay flaws if it“s not fine-tuned by the time the final game releases. Hopefully it will be though. It has everything you want, as a Star Fox diehard. The hit screen is exactly like the Nintendo 64 game, so I can only assume there will be medals. Some characters say the same lines as they did in that game. In terms of the game“s identity, I am wildly confused and need to see and hear more beyond Miyamoto“s words that it“s “not quite the fifth game in the series, and not quite a remake of Star Fox 64”. But in terms of gameplay, visuals, music and more... it“s everything you“ve wanted Star Fox to be since the 64 days. It could use some fixing up, but I guarantee it“s going to be one of those must-own titles this holiday. You can check here to see even more about the game.
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