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Found 18 results

  1. 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?
  2. Jason Clement

    Game of the Year 2015: Jason's Picks

    2015 will forever live on in my memory as a year of gaming regrets. Not because it was a terrible year or anything, but because there were so many great games I didn't get to play due to a lack of time. There's no doubt in my mind that if I had been able to play games such as Grow Home, Axiom Verge, Tales of the Borderlands, and Yoshi's Woolly World, they would all probably share a place on this list. But alas, we can't play everything at once! There are also a number of games I'd like to give honorable mentions to. BoxBoy! is a fantastic, smart puzzle game and an extreme value. Stretchmo is also one of the best puzzle games in recent history. Airscape: The Fall of Gravity is a wonderfully whimsical physics-based platformer that was woefully underlooked. Pokemon Shuffle is an evil, evil -- but super addicting -- free-to-play game. And Etrian Mystery Dungeon nearly made the list for successfully infusing the roguelike with Etrian's fantastic quest-driven formula. In any case, the games I did play and love were still quite memorable indeed. So without further ado, here are my top 10 games of 2015. 10. Star Wars Battlefront Haters gonna hate. The truth is, I don't know what all the fuss is about with people being angry and upset with Battlefront. And frankly, I don't really care either, because Battlefront delivers on the most important point -- it's a fantastic visual representation of Star Wars and pretty dang fun to boot as well. Although I haven't put in nearly as much time with it as I would have liked before making this list, I had a blast taking down AT-AT's, playing capture the flag mode (or whatever its equivalent is called), and generally just being enveloped in the Star Wars universe. Battlefront probably doesn't come anywhere close to being a Call of Duty killer, but as an authentic Star Wars experience, it exceeds on every level and then some. 9. Super Mario Maker When it was first announced, Super Mario Maker didn't excite me much. It was an intriguing idea, but would making your own levels actually be as much fun as people think? Could anyone even approach the type of game design Nintendo came up with, anyhow? Surprisingly, the answer was 'yes.' Don't get me wrong; there are swaths of user-created levels that are absolute garbage, but the great ones really make the experience all worth it, and playing through your own deviously- and meticulously-created levels is one of the best feelings ever. 8. Evoland 2 Many games have attempted to incorporate the natural progression of video game visuals into their story without much success, but Evoland 2 is the first I've played that uses it in a unique way and succeeds. The base game is Zelda-like and the story is fairly generic at first, but the plot quickly evolves and is revealed to be something much larger and -- dare I say it -- approaches Chrono Trigger quantities of plot twists thanks to its time travel story. With four different visual styles to represent each age (Game Boy, NES, SNES/PlayStation, and PS2-era), Evoland 2 also successfully pays homage to most major game genres out there while remaining fresh and original at the same time. 7. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. This title might've been an epic sales flop, but Intelligent Systems made a legit game that borrows some of the best elements from X-Com and Valkyria Chronicles and creates some high tension, strategic shootouts. And though the overall alien invasion plot isn't anything to write home about, the Steampunk world within is actually a pretty neat one. There's just something unbelievably cool about an Abraham Lincoln that not only leads his own Men In Black-esque taskforce, but also pilots a giant mecha called A.B.E. that's modeled after himself as well. Seriously, please buy this so there's an inkling of hope that we might get a sequel at some point. 6. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D "Wait... where's Xenoblade Chronicles X?" is probably your first reaction to this. While X looks to be an amazing game, I only got to spend a few hours with it so far, which just isn't enough time to land it definitively on this list. However, I did play Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and had a blast with it, especially since I was able to play about 95% of the way through this time before getting stuck on a boss at the end (I'll go back and beat it at some point). Sure, it doesn't look quite as good as the Wii version does, but the ability to play this game on a handheld does all the favors in the world for it and is actually part of the reason why I was able to make real progress this time around. Really though, Xenoblade's story is fantastic and one of those few JRPGs that really get to you with all of its moments throughout. While I do think it goes slightly off the rails near the end, everything up to that point is pretty fantastic and it'll definitely remain on my top RPGs list for some time to come. 5. Splatoon Splatoon was definitely that zeitgeist game of the year, in addition to that other indie one (you know which one I'm talking about, *wink*); you were either in on the fun, or you didn't play it and were wondering what the fuss was all about. A number of things really make the game stand out, not the least bit being the whimsically weird Inklings and sea creature-inspired cast, but it's the addictive gameplay that really ties it all together. Playing multiplayer with friends was the icing on the cake to what is a great new IP. 4. Undertale Speaking of zeitgeists, here's a funny story for you: I actually haven't finished Undertale yet (this year is killing me, I'm tell you!), but the two hours I have played are something else. And much like Journey, Undertale is quite literally unlike anything I've experienced before. The only other game I've played that has this much heart is probably Mother 3, but even then, that game didn't let you choose to be a pacifist at every turn. Pacifism aside, though, the game is amazingly well-designed and well-written; I don't laugh out loud a whole lot when playing games, but there are some great moments in comedy here. I even admit to laughing at some of the skeleton puns (hey, don't judge). Since I can only reference half the game with any real authority here, what really struck me during my experience playing was Toriel (the goat mom). The kindness and motherliness she shows right from the beginning in taking your hand and getting you through the tutorial area is pretty touching. But what really got me is when you get to her house and she's basically resigned herself on the spot to taking care of you from now on, even going so far as to give you your own bedroom and DEVELOP A SCHOOL CURRICULUM FOR YOUR EDUCATION. WHAT. I know it's "just a game" but deep down I actually felt something at that point that no other game had made me feel before. Bravo, Undertale. 3. Fast Racing Neo I can't say I've loved every game Shin'en Multimedia has developed, but more often than not they are fairly good. That said, Fast Racing Neo is the first game they've completely knocked out of the park. Are you sick and tired of waiting for a new F-Zero? Boom, you've got it; Shin'en went out and did what Nintendo wouldn't in the last 10 years. All I can say is that this game fires on all cylinders; it's visually stunning, sounds great, and is ridiculously fast and fun. If we never get another F-Zero game ever again, I might just be okay with that, because now we have the Fast Racing series. 2. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Ever since the end of Heart of the Swarm's campaign, I thought Legacy of the Void would probably play out to be a pretty predictable ending. Instead, LotV goes out with a bang, and a few surprises to boot. The Protoss and their culture, traditions, and different sects are really explored like never before here, and several great new characters are introduced as well. What really stuck with me the most was that, as great as the gameplay was, the story and themes it developed inbetween missions were equally as fantastic, if not better. This is StarCraft's finest hour, and I can't wait to see what's next for the series. 1. SteamWorld Heist Official GP Review There was a moment in SteamWorld Heist where it suddenly "clicked" for me as to just how good it actually was. My entire crew of steam-powered robots was being gunned down one by one. I only had two left to work with, and we were completely surrounded by enemies who were rapidly closing in on our position. And wouldn't you know it, through a series of amazingly calculated shots and pure luck, I managed to take out multiple enemies at once and turn the tide. If a strategy game can take you to the brink of destruction and despair, only for you to come back and win it all through sheer strategy, that's a great game, my friends. Interestingly enough, I had a similar moment with Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., so what makes this better? Not only is Heist the more original game between the two (in regards to its setting, characters, and even the plot), but it's a much more expansive game as well, giving you extensive options when it comes to assembling your crew, choosing a loadout for each Steambot, and exploring branching paths that lead to new missions and more. SteamWorld Heist has it all, and Image & Form didn't skimp on anything. It looks, plays, and sounds fantastic, and the fact that it's on 3DS (at least to start) still completely blows me away. For all of these reasons and more, SteamWorld Heist is my Game of the Year for 2015.
  3. John Kidman

    Game of the Year 2015: John's Picks

    A new Disney entry into the Star Wars franchise lit up the box office, while a Pixar movie flopped in the box office. We have experienced a full year of watching companies and people alike partake in digital panhandling for finances on websites like Kickstarter, Patreon and GoFundMe. The Cubs met with an untimely exit from the MLB playoffs to stifle their Back to the Future II World Series forecast and we lack our sweet hoverboards. We saw some new entries into some of our favorite game series and a massive amount of hype for future projects. This year has been filled with highs, lows and everything in between. Like it or not, 2015 is in the bag. The Ultimate Sad Face Award -Rise of the Tomb Raider- Rise of the Tomb Raider is the automatic winner of my Ultimate Sad Face Award because it is the one game that I really wanted to play this year, but skipped entirely. My decision was not a criticism of the game's exclusivity, but rather the result of some pretty poor marketing. A ton of money was thrown at television spots and it is well received, but in who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to drop Tomb Raider on the public the same day as Fallout 4? I may get a mulligan to do right by Lara Croft next year when we likely see it launch on Playstation 4, but at that point I will have played Uncharted 4 and will not want to pay $60 for a year-old game on a different platform. If this list were on my phone, it would just read Tomb Raider with a large, adjacent sideways sad face. The Snorlax Award -Super Mario Maker- Snorlax does not move to the beat of anybody's drums except his own. So. What you do when you're being criticized about not creating games or content fast enough? You give them a polished tool to make their own levels. Nintendo did this in the form of Super Mario Maker. I have a soured disposition toward pushing user-generated content creators as a “game,” but even I found myself intrigued by what Nintendophiles could do with such a user-friendly interface. Garden variety sadists and Yoshi haters rule the day, but there are quite a few levels out there that would fit perfectly in the confines of a 2D Mario title. The great thing? They are not hidden behind a wall of horribly built levels. ` The Shameless Double Dip Award -Destiny: The Taken King- Have you ever been to a place that sells ice cream by the scoop and they shamelessly up-sell you on a second scoop? Typically that second dip only costs a fraction of the original scoop because they've already packed the cone and put the first scoop on top. Unfortunately, Bungie is the company that sold you on the first scoop, didn't pack the cone and then gave you a generic Vanilla/Chocolate flavor despite ordering something a little more extravagant. When confronted, they offered to sell you a second dip of ice cream, but that second dip would cost the exact same amount of money as the first dip (sprinkles sold separately). In case you missed it: Destiny: The Taken King is the ice cream. The base game is still the same and it still lacks a bit of soul, but the additional content offered makes a bit of difference and one of the biggest turnarounds for a game this year. The Amnesia Award -Pillars of Eternity- My favorite video games are ones that use amnesia as a story telling device, but how often are video games the source of amnesia? The Amnesia Award belongs to the game that will make you sit back at the end of the year and think “that game was great, but did I really play it this year?” This year's winner, Pillars of Eternity, topped the chart for this award, following the trend of good game that may have been forgotten because of its release at the beginning of the year. I would recommend picking this game up, especially if you are in the market to fill your isometric RPG void. The Golden Wrench Award -Fallout 4- “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” Why? It might just be a feature. Fallout 4 may initially seem like a game that receives a free pass for its faults because of an unhealthy love for the developers, but Bethesda's ability to create an atmospheric experience through the expertly crafted locations is unparalleled. Fallout 4 gave me unique companions to accompany me across the wasteland, where I spend the majority of my time exploring and scavenging. This is the exact same thing I did in Fallout 3 and I've loved almost every minute of the game. If you need direction and structure, don't waste your time with Fallout 4 because this game is designed for those who ask “What's just over that hill?” The Leisure Suit Award -Fallout Shelter- This award is dedicated to all those games we play that aren't really considered heavy hitting, but we spent a lot of time playing. Fallout Shelter may be free and designed for your mobile devices, but there is a reason people find it so addictive. The Fallout series is one that is played from the perspective of an extraordinary dweller, but Shelter lets the player engage their vault life as an overseer. You can dictate where each person works, choose procreation partners and the more sadistic players can opt to eradicate the dwellers who get on your nerves. Fallout Shelter appears to be a shallow simulation game on the surface, but there are a lot of nice touches that help bring it under the Fallout umbrella. Two Fallout games, one list. This just isn't right. The Sportsball Award -Rocket League- Electronic Arts and 2K keeps players inundated with new licensed sports titles each and every year, a trend that will not likely vanish in the foreseeable future. Many sports titles do little more than perform minor tweaks to last years product, update rosters and offer plenty of new microtransactions. The Sportsball Award belongs to the best sports title of the year and this year's winner is Rocket League. It is one one of the few sports titles that felt like it brought something new to its predecessor, even if that only means taking the existing formula found in Psyonix's Super Acrobatic Rocket Powered Cars and rebranding it. Rocket League provided players an upgraded multiplayer experience, graphical updates and a whole slew of microtransactions. The Dessert Award -Xenoblade Chronicles X- One day you will find yourself at a restaurant after eating a large meal and decide that their lava cakes look delicious. You order dessert, but can only muster the energy to eat one-fourth of it before needing to box it up. Xenoblade Chronicles X could easily be my favorite game for the entire year, but its release date so close to the Holidays and at the tail end of a veritable buffet of video games ensured that I wouldn't be able to sink enough time into the game to dethrone The Witcher 3. I may not have finished Xenoblade Chronicles X yet, but the game's quality and appeal are two absolutely undeniable selling points. The beautiful environment even gives you untethered access live actual wallpaper for your television. Xenoblade Chronicles X may be jockeying for playtime at the end of the year and a little indulgent, but just like that lava cake it will be devoured before the next meal. That One Artist Award -The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt- No. This award does not belong to the most overrated, self-important or racist artist on the market. This year's 'That One Artist Award' belongs to the game that snatches the microphone when people are speaking positively about any other game. Was your DLC good? That's fine and I'll let you finish, but CD Projekt's earliest DLC was good AND free. Good story and Open World? That's great, but Geralt of Rivia has something he would like to take up with you. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hit on all cylinders this year. Great narrative. Great, natural shift to a true open world setting. Great visuals. Great soundtrack. Did I mention that the Witcher 3 was great? This game, without a doubt, is my Game of the Year.
  4. Jordan Haygood

    Game of the Year 2015: Jordan's Picks

    It“s that time of the year again, kiddos! That“s right, time for my annual eye exam. But while I await my appointment, I“ve got something else on my mind… Video games. They“re what this great Podunk of ours is named after. Every year we see a countless number of the things make their way onto store shelves, whether actual store shelves or the digital kind. Some are outright terrible. Others are so good that ya just gotta make a “best of†list at the end of the year to showcase the ones you“ve enjoyed the most. Hey, that“s not a bad idea… You know what? Forget the original idea I had for this article. Instead, allow me to share with you my picks for the 2015 games of the year. The Game Most Like EarthBound Undertale When I first heard about Undertale, I was told that it was a lot like EarthBound. Needless to say, I was immediately interested in trying it out. And boy am I glad I did. Undertale is not just similar to EarthBound, even though its similarities are huge pluses in my book, but in general it“s just a fantastic game. It doesn“t take all that long to get through, but with various different endings that depend on the choices you make throughout, you will likely end up playing over and over again until you“ve seen them all. I know I did. The Steampunkiest Strategy Game SteamWorld Heist Official GP Review If you“ve played SteamWorld Dig, you“ll know just how awesome it is. Because it is. No objections. So naturally, the next game set in the SteamWorld universe is also awesome. In fact, SteamWorld Heist might even be better. Especially since Steam Powered Giraffe did the music (and even make a cameo). Hey, I like steampunk stuff, alright? Can we move on now? SteamWorld Heist is a completely different game than SteamWorld Dig, being a strategy game and all, so don“t expect it to be a straight-up sequel. They“re both great, though, and totally worth playing. The Woolliest Platformer Yoshi's Woolly World Official GP Review I freaking adored the incredibly clever Wii game Kirby“s Epic Yarn. Wait, did I use past tense? Silly me. I still adore it. I also adore the latest craft-based Good-Feel title – Yoshi“s Woolly World. Not only is it a quality Yoshi game, and the first home console game featuring the lovable dinosaur we“ve been given in a very, very long time (the last one was Yoshi“s Story, which was released waaaaaaaaaay back in 1997), but it also has perhaps the coolest aesthetics I“ve seen since, well, Kirby“s Epic Yarn. And just like Epic Yarn, Woolly World“s yarn focus also allows for some really clever mechanics. And that“s not even all I love about this game. Like I said, I adore it. The PS4 Exclusive Bloodborne There weren“t exactly a whole lot of PS4 exclusives released in 2015, when you think about it. But who really needs a lot when you have Bloodborne? Not only is it arguably the best PlayStation 4 exclusive to come out of 2015, but it“s also one of the best games to be released for the console thus far. It“s also a new IP, and one that I hope has a pretty long future ahead of it. It“s a bit like the games in the Souls series and has a big H.P. Lovecraft inspiration behind it, which in my opinion is a rather awesome combination. If you have a PS4, buy this game. The Most Ink-redible Shooter Splatoon I“m gonna refrain from making the usual Splatoon joke. You know the one. Instead, I“m just going to praise this Wii U shooter for the awesome game that it is. Nintendo“s newest IP is a lot of fun, whether you“re playing online or enjoying the story in single-player mode. It“s such a creative and enjoyable experience that you can just tell that it“ll go down in history among the ranks of such iconic Nintendo franchises as Mario and Zelda. Or at least, it totally should. I usually don“t enjoy shooters as much as some people, but Splatoon is a blast (of ink). The "Dude, It's Fallout 4" Award Fallout 4 I was waiting for Fallout 4 for quite some time. I know I“m not alone. I mean, as good as Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are, it“s only natural that I“d be a little impatient. But was it worth the wait? Is…that a serious question? Oh wait, I“m the one who wrote that question… Anyway, Fallout 4 is fantastic. It“s not without its problems, but many of those problems are bound to be fixed via patches, if history repeats itself. I have plenty of hours sunk into this game, and I“ll be sinking plenty more hours after this article. The "Going Out with a Bang" Award Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain In light of the recent dispute between developer and publisher, Hideo Kojima“s final game with the, erm, nice folks over at Konami was quite possibly his best game so far – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And really, while I would have loved it if Kojima could stay with the company and make even more Metal Gear Solid games (and perhaps a certain Silent Hill title), it“s nice to be able to go out with a bang. Seriously, The Phantom Pain is so good that all I can really say about it is GO PLAY IT. Check out the review scores if you don“t believe me. Thank you for making such an amazing game, Kojima-san, and good luck with your new company. The Best Level Creation Tool Super Mario Maker Anyone who knows me knows that I love to create stuff. And ever since I played my first (and possibly still my favorite) Mario game, Super Mario World, I“ve entertained the thought of creating my own Mario levels. Especially after seeing ROM hacks upon being introduced to this little thing called “the internet.†But I honestly wasn“t sure if that would ever happen without learning the art of ROM hacking myself or creating a fan game or whatever. Anyway, Super Mario Maker exists now, and I much prefer that option. It“s a pretty in-depth level creation tool that also allows you to play other people“s levels worldwide. Whether you like playing Mario games or like the idea of making your own levels for others to play, Super Mario Maker is a must-have. The Game with the Wildest Hunts The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Official GP Review With so much awesomeness packed into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it“s no wonder so many people have it on their game of the year lists. Obviously, I“m one of those people. If you haven“t played it yet because you“ve never played the first two, then… Well, play ”em. They“re all great games, so it“s not like it“ll be a chore to play them. But while The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings are both fantastic, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is hands down the best entry into the series. The story, the gameplay, extra stuff you can do; pretty much everything about this game is just another reason to play it. And hopefully one day they'll make another one. Game of the Year X Xenoblade Chronicles X I“ve enjoyed quite a few games in 2015, but none quite as much as Monolith Soft“s newest game – Xenoblade Chronicles X. If you recall, I really, REALLY enjoyed the first Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii (I even gave it a 9.5 out of 10 in my review and named it Game of the Year for 2012). I“m not sure yet if I like X better, but it“s certainly a close call. Once I eventually beat the game, I“ll know for sure. On that note, I really am not that far in Xenoblade Chronicles X, even though I“m almost at a 40-hour playtime. Simply put, this game is freaking massive. Not only is the world of Mira massive, but the number of missions you can get addicted to completing can really make you lose track of time. I haven“t even gotten into a Skell yet, though I am really looking forward to it. In any case, while I still have a ways to go, I am already quite confident that Xenoblade Chronicles X is my favorite game to come out of 2015. If you disagree with my choice, or any other choice on this list, there is a complaint box up front. Just write your complaint and I will be sure to not read it. Cheers~ Do you agree with any of the games in this list? What games are you thankful for this year?
  5. Editor's note: This year we'll be having several guest writers contributing their Game of the Year lists. First up is Justin Graham, a former Operation Rainfall writer, fellow video game enthusiast, and mutual friend of some of us on the staff. You can follow him on Twitter @Hailinel __________________________________________________________________ Looking back, 2015 was a really solid, satisfying year for me when it came to video games. A lot of great games that suited my tastes hit throughout the year, and I never felt wanting for one that could draw me in. There were, of course, a few unfortunate games that I would have loved to have played more of to give their fair shake (Sorry, Codename: S.T.E.A.M. and Type-0 HD!), but that there were so many games that demanded my attention this year really shows how great of a year in gaming it was. 10. Until Dawn/Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water I put two games in the number ten slot because I felt that they were both really strong horror titles, so why not include them both? Until Dawn is a cinematic adventure game of the sort that David Cage might make, but with a script that“s coherent, entertaining, and revels in the fact that it is, in essence, a playable horror movie. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, by contrast, is a tense Wii U game that makes incredible use of the GamePad controller as the Camera Obscura. Both offer entertaining, spooky experiences backed by different themes and ideas, and both work in their own ways. 9. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain The Phantom Pain is a weird, weird game. Weird because of the usual meta reasons that Metal Gear Solid is known for. Weird for not being a traditional Metal Gear Solid game with its open world. Weird for having Kiefer Sutherland as the voice of Snake instead of David Hayter (and it works!). Weird for all of the Konami-related drama surrounding its development. Weird for the fact that it“s the last game Hideo Kojima ever made for Konami. Weird that the game“s final mission was never finished. It“s weird. And it“s flawed. But it still works, and it for all of the things that it does, it does most of them incredibly well. 8. Undertale I really debated where to put Undertale on my list. It“s well-written and, the music is superb, and when it pays other games homage, it wears it on its sleeve without being cloying. Its charming, heartwarming, dark (potentially incredibly so if you play it a certain way), and frequently ludicrous. Take EarthBound, sprinkle in a little Shin Megami Tensei, add a dash of bullet hell, and this is the game you get. All that being said, I“m not as enamored with it as many others are. It“s a fantastic, original game that feels like a very personal vision. It deserves incredible praise and I“d love to see what its creator does next. But as far as the actual act of playing Undertale goes, that“s where it fell short for me and why it“s only in eighth place. (Tumblr, please don“t kill me.) 7. Samurai Warriors 4-II Official GP Review I like me some Musou. Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Warriors Orochi, Hyrule Warriors -- if there“s an Omega Force hack-and-slash, I will be there, cutting through thousands of dudes. Of the various branches of Musou, Samurai Warriors has always been one of my favorites, and a big reason for that is the survival modes that the series has often included. And they brought back the Survival Castle in Samurai Warriors 4-II. I could easily spend dozens of hours playing that mode alone. (Story Mode? What“s that?) 6. Nobunaga“s Ambition: Sphere of Influence From one style of Koei Tecmo“s historical madness to another, the latest Nobunaga“s Ambition is has a staggering level of complexity of the sort that appeals to the hardcore strategy fan in me that doesn“t emerge as much as it used to. But it“s still really satisfying to build a tiny faction up from almost nothing into a powerful force vying for control of all of Japan, with all of the resource gathering, diplomacy, and warfare that demands. 5. Super Mario Maker The early 2D Mario games were a major part of my childhood, and one of the reasons why I“ve stuck with gaming well into my thirties. I never did beat the original Super Mario Bros. (I suck, I know), but Super Mario Maker lets me live out my childhood dreams of building actual, playable Super Mario courses. While I haven“t built any stages that are full-blown Kaizo insanity (I actually have to beat the stage to upload it, after all), it“s still spurred my creativity in ways that few games have in recent memory. 4. Splatoon Leave it to Nintendo to surprise everyone with an online shooter that single-handedly revitalized online shooters. Just when everything was blending together into a gray/brown mess of indistinct iron sights and military people shooting terrorists, or possibly other military people, Splatoon came along with its incredible, colorful style, sense of humor, and systems that are inviting to anyone. I have never, ever stuck it out in an online shooter for any real length of time, mostly what they had come to represent. But Splatoon, with its “Ink everything!” approach, refusal to take itself seriously, and fresh style made me stick around and have fun for far longer than any shooter I“ve ever played outside of GoldenEye. And the lack of voice chat doesn“t hurt it at all, either. 3. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D A few years ago, it was questionable as to whether or not North America would ever see an official release of Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. And here we are in 2015, with not just a Wii release behind us, but a full-fledged port of the game on the New 3DS. Everything I love about the game is still present, from its wide, beautiful world and colorful characters to its engaging story and combat. And while the graphics aren“t as sharp as they are on the Wii, they really pop on the 3D display. The fact that the game is for a handheld makes it all the easier to recommend. Honestly, they took a game that was amazing on every level and managed to put it on a handheld without losing anything that mattered. That is absolutely incredible. 2. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX Official GP Review Ever since its western launch in September, Project Mirai DX has rarely been removed from the game card slot in my 3DS. It“s super-cute, with dozens of catchy songs by Miku and her fellow Crypton Vocaloids, and a ton of extras on the side that make it a soothing, adorable experience. It“s very easy for me to start playing with the intent to just try a few songs for fifteen minutes, only to lose myself in it and it“s suddenly dinner time. Or bed time. Or the middle of the night. In short, it“s a fantastic little rhythm game and one of the best 3DS experiences this year. 1. Xenoblade Chronicles X Xenoblade Chronicles X is the best game I“ve played all year. Everything I like about the gameplay in the original Xenoblade Chronicles is back, but deeper and more refined, with an absolutely massive, gorgeous world to explore, and the addition of mechs to help explore it. There“s never anything not to do, and the game rewards you for just about everything you can do. And while the story isn“t as character-driven as the original“s, the game still has plenty of character in it that shines across the game“s many and numerous missions that cover everything from simply gathering materials for people in need to resolving violent racial conflicts. It“s a game teeming with life and that encourages the player“s sense of adventure and the desire to explore off the beaten path. But for as open as the game is, it“s still a Xeno-game at heart in its themes and storytelling -- one that spells a bright future for the crazy ride that producer Tetsuya Takahashi has been on since the original Xenogears. Heck, the game even has sly references to Xenogears scattered in its character creator. For me, Xenoblade Chronicles X is not just the best RPG of 2015, but the best game of 2015. And it was a very easy win.
  6. Jason Clement

    Super Mario Maker 02

    From the album: Editor's Gallery

  7. Jordan Haygood

    Thanksgiving 2015: 13 Games to be Thankful For

    God bless America! Land of the free, home of the glazed turkey that“s about to make its way into my belly on this great, fattening holiday known as Thanksgiving. But before we all go stuffing our pie holes with stuffing and pie, let“s take a moment to give thanks to all the things that make our lives worthwhile… Did I say “things?†I meant “games.†Because let“s face it, that“s all we REALLY should be thankful for, right? Or maybe I“m just an ungrateful nerd. Either way, there are certainly loads of video games to be thankful for, many of which came out this year. Whether a series you love finally got that sequel you were waiting for, a new IP was introduced that blew away your expectations, or a game is just really, really good, it“s a fine year to be a gamer. So join me as we give our thanks to these 13 games that 2015 had to offer. Note: This list is in no particular order. They“re still numbered, though, because SHUT UP AND JUST GO WITH IT. #13 Story of Seasons First up is probably the only game that has an actual Thanksgiving. Well, okay, so it“s technically a “cooking exhibition,†but it“s on the 25th of Fall and is the only cooking festival in the game, so it“s pretty obvious that it“s this game“s version of Thanksgiving. Anyway, after Natsume decided to no longer work with Marvelous to produce new entries into the Harvest Moon franchise but still hold onto the license, leading the publisher to develop the worst Harvest Moon yet, Marvelous decided to create a new series called Story of Seasons. It“s basically the developer“s way of giving fans the game they REALLY wanted. Thank you, Marvelous. You really are quite marvelous. ​ #12 Yoshi's Woolly World Read our review Do you know how long it“s been since we last got a home console game starring Yoshi? I“ll give you a hint: Yoshi“s Story was the last one, and that game came out way back in 1997. Do the math. Yeah, it“s been a while. True, there HAVE been handheld iterations of Yoshi“s Island, but it“s nice to finally get a new Yoshi game that I can play on my TV. And boy is Yoshi“s Woolly World a “new†Yoshi game. As its name implies, Yoshi“s Woolly World is…well, very woolly. Seriously, just about everything is made of yarn. And in high-definition on the Wii U, it“s just plain gorgeous. Not only that, but several other factors make this a really great game in general. Thank you, Yoshi, for bringing me so much joy this year. ​ #11 Dragon Ball XenoVerse Dragon Ball Z is undoubtedly one of the most popular anime series of all time. And if you are a DBZ fan like I certainly am, then you“d probably enjoy Dragon Ball XenoVerse quite a bit. It“s basically a love letter to fans, allowing you to create your own character and traverse the DBZ timeline as you fight all sorts of notable villains, from Raditz to Beerus and even some GT baddies, granted you go get the GT DLC. Now, in no way is Dragon Ball XenoVerse a masterpiece of a game or anything. It should be said that on its own, it“s really not a game you need to go out of your way to play. However, as a fan of Dragon Ball Z, there is plenty to love about this game. It“s wonderfully entertaining for people who like the series, and for that I am very thankful. ​ #10 Rare Replay It“s pretty much unanimous at this point that Rare – the formerly legendary developer of some of gaming“s most beloved games, such as Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie, and the Nintendo 64 adaptation of GoldenEye 007 – has fallen from grace in recent years. And it certainly doesn“t help that most of the team responsible for such gems have since left to start their own companies, with one of those companies working on a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, which goes by the totally different name of Yooka-Laylee. Of course, Rare certainly does realize that their best years are behind them. And as their way of celebrating their 30th anniversary, the developer has blessed us with Rare Replay. It“s an Xbox One game that combines 30 of Rare“s greatest creations (though there are a few stinkers in the mix) into one, incredibly solid compilation. It also costs a measly $30 (okay, we get it, you“re 30 years old). I“m happy buying just one of your games for $30, Rare. Giving me 30 for that price? Well, thanks for that. ​ #9 Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water When Nintendo first unveiled the Wii U back at E3 2011, anyone who was aware of the Fatal Frame series likely thought the same thing: “A Fatal Frame game would be PERFECT for this console!†And why shouldn“t people think that? If you know of the series, you know what I mean. So then it finally happens. About three years after the console“s release, we finally get that Fatal Frame game we were expecting, known in the states as Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. Of course, considering how obvious a choice a series such as this being on a console such as the Wii U is, the fact that it was made isn“t really the surprising part of Maiden of Black Water“s release. It“s the fact that it was localized at all that was unexpected, since it“s not exactly all that popular over here. But alas, we got an English version (albeit a digital-only one), and I am quite thankful for that. ​ #8 Bloodborne Every console deserves a badass, exclusive new IP to call its home. For the PlayStation 4, that game is Bloodborne. It was originally going to be the launch title Knack, but… Meh, that game wasn“t very good. Bloodborne, however, is fantastic. Not only is it a must-have for the PS4, but I might even go so far as to say that it“s a pretty valid reason by itself to get the console. For those of you unfamiliar with Bloodborne, let“s just say that if you like any of the Souls games, then this game is right up your alley. And if you don“t, then you“ll still like it SO GO PLAY IT ALREADY. Seriously though, Bloodborne has a lot to like about it, its H.P. Lovecraft inspiration only being one of them. It“s a masterfully crafted game, and I am so very thankful that it exists. ​ #7 Xenoblade Chronicles X In case you weren“t aware, I REALLY enjoyed my time with Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. Naturally, I was ecstatic when I first saw the reveal trailer for its sequel (known simply as “X†at the time). Xenoblade Chronicles X looks fantastic, and the more I see of it, the more excited I get for its release next month. Okay, yeah, I know, it“s not out yet so it“s not fair to have it on this list and blah blah blah. Look, as much as I like Xenoblade Chronicles, I have faith that Monolith Soft can deliver yet another awesome entry into the series. It certainly looks like it“ll be awesome, at least. Plus, this is my list, so shut up. Anyway, I still think it“s crazy that another Xenoblade was even made. But I“m not complaining. In fact, playing Xenoblade Chronicles X will probably be all I do in December. Thank you, Monolith Soft, for giving me that option. ​ #6 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Read our review To put it simply, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of 2015“s best games. Many people will agree with me on that. But wait, you“re saying you haven“t played the first two? Well good news! Turns out The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings are both really good too. So, like, go play ”em. Of course, neither can quite match the awesomeness of the third game in the series, which is currently the series“ best. What makes The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt so great doesn“t narrow down to just one aspect, as it“s a fantastic package all around. Great gameplay, great music, a great story; it“s a pretty top-notch work of art. It“d be nice if the series continues, but whether it does or not, I“m thankful that I had the opportunity to play through not only The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but the other two as well. ​ #5 Splatoon Whether you are a kid or a squid at this particular moment in time, you“ve probably heard of the inkredible shooter known as Splatoon. After all, it“s Nintendo“s newest IP. But is it any good? Will it be able to join the ranks of Nintendo“s top dogs like Mario and Zelda? Is it worth buying a Wii U over? The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES. Seriously, Splatoon is one of the most creative games I“ve played in a while, and definitely the most creative shooter I“ve ever played, which complements quite nicely with the insanely fun gameplay, both in multiplayer and single-player modes. Splatoon“s fun factor and creativity also help this game, along with the massive level of charm the game exudes, stand out as, in my opinion, the start of Nintendo“s next hit series. And I must give The Big N my thanks for letting a game like this out into the wild. ​ #4 StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void It“s been a fun ride for StarCraft fans since StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released five years ago. That game was definitely a worthy sequel to the original, even though you couldn“t yet play as the Zerg or Protoss. Thankfully, Blizzard didn“t stop there. In 2013, we got StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – the second part of the StarCraft II trilogy, which gave us a Zerg campaign. And now, in 2015, we have at last been given the Protoss, thanks to the final piece of the trilogy known as StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Much like the base game and its Zerg expansion, Legacy of the Void is fantastic. As far as strategy games go, StarCraft II is probably among the best. And I am very thankful to Blizzard for allowing me to complete the full experience at last. #3 Super Mario Maker I have been a fan of Mario games ever since I was old enough to hold a controller and comprehend how it works. Super Mario World was my first, but I also had Super Mario All-Stars, which allowed me to play the ones that came before it without needing an NES. And growing up playing every entry into the main Mario series, I always admired the fantastic level designs. There were even times when I myself thought about how I would design levels. Enter: Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. Finally, designing Mario levels was no longer just a passing thought. Here is a game that is all about making levels. Not just one style either, but the styles of four different Mario games. And not only that, but you can even share your levels with the world, as well as play levels from other level creators. Super Mario Maker is a game I never even considered as something I would see released. But it exists, and it“s awesome. Thank you, Nintendo. ​ #2 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain If you haven“t heard the disheartening news yet, Hideo Kojima – father of the Metal Gear series and the would-be director of the ill-fated Silent Hills (the game P.T. would have become) – was let go by Konami. It sucks like a black hole, but at least the man was able to go out with a “bang.†In fact, his last game was quite possibly his best, and not only in the Metal Gear series, but of his entire career. That game is, of course, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And I“m not exaggerating either. Just go check out the review scores. It“s a really, really, really good game. Hideo Kojima and his team are masters of their craft, and simply put, Konami is incredibly stupid for letting such amazing people get away. You will be missed, Hideo Kojima. Thank you for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and everything else you“ve ever given us. ​ #1 Fallout 4 It“s no Half-Life 3, but Fallout 4 is one of those sequels fans were hoping to hear news about year after year following the release of Fallout 3. I mean, sure, we did get Fallout: New Vegas, but it simply wasn“t enough. I dunno, I guess there“s just something about numbers that ups the hype factor for people. Sure enough, though, we got it. And Fallout 4 is every bit as awesome as we all hoped it would be (though it could use some patches here and there). Hell, news even broke out that a certain porno site lost a lot of traffic the day the game was released. So yeah, Fallout 4 is some serious business. And I can“t thank Bethesda enough for bringing the game into my life. Now if you will all excuse me, I need to go find Shaun… ​ Do you agree with any of the games on this list? What games are you thankful for this year?
  8. For most gamers, it seems like we all go through a usual hype cycle for games that we're looking forward to. Basically, we get excited for a game when it gets announced and that excitement typically escalates the more we see of it... for a certain amount of time. It usually happens that if a game is in development for too long (at least two or three years pass, and you keep seeing it at every conference), that excitement dies down a bit (even with new footage coming out), even though you're still relatively excited to play the game. I would say that's the case for about 90% of every game that comes out, but once in a while, there are games where the more you see of it, the more your excitement grows. I can't say it enough, but Super Mario Maker is that game for me; every time I watch more videos of it on Youtube and see what people can do with it, I'm all the more excited for it. That might be due to the nature of what it is - a fairly open-ended level creator, so the fact that it has near endless potential probably plays into the excitement as opposed to a more controlled, linear, experience (like Halo 5 or something). Anyhow, are there any games you can think of where the more you see it, the more you want to play it? Or do most game hype for you fall into the category I mentioned at the outset of this post?
  9. Lots of Nintendo news today as the company completely unveils full plans for its Fall and Holiday 2015 lineup. That means official release dates for most of the games are finally here. It was also announced that a new dual-pack consisting of New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U will be available on Oct. 16 for $59.99. Additionally, a Walmart-exclusive Wii U bundle containing Super Mario Maker, Idea Book, and the 30th Anniversary Mario Modern Color amiibo will go on sale on Sep. 11 for $299.96. One last note — Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash and Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival are the only games with a vague release window of Holiday 2015 at the moment, so stay tuned for more release date info on both later on in the Fall. Here are the other release dates for games coming out in Fall/Holiday 2015- Wii U Sep. 11 - Super Mario Maker Oct. 16 - Yoshi's Woolly World Oct. 16 - New Super Mario Bros./New Super Luigi Dual Pack Oct. 22 - Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water Nov. 20 - Star Fox Zero Dec. 4 - Xenoblade Chronicles X Dec. 11 - Devil's Third Holiday 2015 - Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival 3DS Sep. 25 - Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer Oct. 9 - Chibi Robo! Zip Lash Oct. 23 - The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes Nov. 6 - Yo-Kai Watch Nov. 20 - Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
  10. Nintendo of America just sent off a Press Release announcing when various amiibo figures would arrive in stores. Several of them are arriving on September 11th, 2015, including the 8-bit Mario amiibo modeled to celebrate Super Mario“s 30th Anniversary and Super Mario Maker. I got a chance to see it in action at E3 2015 back in June; that“s one of the few amiibo I“m interested in. Have you read my hands-on impressions of Super Mario Maker yet? Other amiibo launching on September 11th include: - Zero Suit Samus - Ganondorf - Olimar - Bowser Jr. - Doctor Mario On September 25th, 2015, a Retro 3 Pack featuring Duck Hunt, Mr. Game & Watch and R.O.B. is coming. The Press Release does not detail any exclusive retailers for this package, nor does it mention any conceivable way to obtain any of the Retro 3 Pack amiibos separately. If they do, I“ll amend this article. There are still plenty of amiibo that aren“t yet announced here including Mewtwo, Lucas, Ryu and Roy. And the “modern” variant of the 8-bit Mario amiibo with red and blue colors versus red and brown...is conspicuously missing from the list in the Press Release. Are you interested in any of the amiibo coming soon? Be sure to let us know!
  11. Jonathan Higgins

    E3 2015 Hands-On: Super Mario Maker

    When Mario Maker was revealed during E3 last year, I don“t think anyone could have imagined the things it was really capable of. Information about the game trickled out, then dried up — all leading up to its dramatic re-reveal during the Nintendo World Championships on June 14th. Super Mario Maker was now reality, and it was that night we got just a small taste of absolute insanity. When it was first announced last year, I honestly never imagined that it would be such a versatile title that Nintendo would be confident enough to let it send-off their Digital Event during E3 this year, much less have a gigantic presence comparable to Star Fox Zero and Treehouse Live on the show floor. They had an entire live event devoted to it, where they spent hours explaining the game to passersby. I“m going to do the same for you all, having watched the show and both played and created in the game. Did you get a chance to watch the Nintendo World Championships segment with Super Mario Maker? If watching the broadcast left you wanting to try out the Championship levels for yourself — you can! All of those levels, as well as the many available at the various Best Buy and E3 Demo kiosks, will be available in the full game for you to try for yourself. Playing through levels will be half the fun, so it“s great to know that there are already levels created that will be there on launch day, tried by thousands of people in Los Angeles and around the United States. As many know, you can choose between Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U styles of levels. The physics of the level you“re playing are determined by its game chosen. Mario can do certain things in one game that he can“t in others. Certain levels have certain power-ups. One tid-bit you might not know: The Mystery Mushroom amiibo power-up announced in the Direct is only specific to Super Mario Bros. stages. So unfortunately you won“t get to see 16 bit or HD sprites of Kirby, Marth, Wii Fit Trainer and more. There are a few new power-ups and features to mention besides the Mystery Mushroom, though. One thing you“ll notice as you“re playing through a level someone else created: if you die, you“ll see a red X where you fell — then, several other red X's will pop up on the screen, indicating that other players have died there. I think it“s interesting to seen where lots of people struggle in a level, so you can strengthen your resolve and be better than your peers. Without going into too many specifics about menus and filters and stuff: every level must be completed by its creator at least once to be deemed playable. Every time someone completes your level after that, it“s given a "Completion Rate." You can guess the Nintendo World Championships levels have a painfully low completion rate of like 17%. It fractions how many attempts over how many completed runs. Handy! There are also various modes besides 'Creation' that I haven“t really seen highlighted much outside of the show floor itself. One of these modes is the '100 Mario Challenge,' where you“re given 100 lives and 100 randomly generated Mario levels (no doubt from the pool of created levels online) and you“re tasked with beating them. That“s a fun challenge for those looking for a little more of a structured challenge as you play. Creating levels could take five minutes, or five hours depending on your level of skill, but there are many things to consider. You can build a level with multiple layers (such as taking a pipe down to an underground portion of a level, then back up), a blocked exit that can only be broken with the power of the brand new 8-bit Mario amiibo (which smashes blocks from the side, by the way), and more. If you would have talked to me about Mario Maker last year, I would have told you it felt limited. But... Super Mario Maker gives you every bit of tools at your disposal that the Tokyo EAD team has, or otherwise. I“d even go so far as to say it goes beyond what those teams were capable of at the time. Shaking, dragging and dropping various aspects of a level you“re creating changes them. You can turn a blooper into a Blooper-plus-family...make Bowser into Bowser Jr, and so, so much more. Want to make things giant? First place an enemy on the stage, then feed it a Super Mushroom. Every piece and part and enemy is universal across all Mario games, besides specific power-ups. Mario 1 has the Mystery Mushroom, Mario 3 has the Super Leaf, Mario World has the cape, and New Super Mario Bros. U has the Propeller Mushroom. Yoshi is in both World and U. Everything that makes sense to be there is there, and even some things that don“t really make sense are there. It“s really the ultimate Mario toolbox. But it“s more than a toolbox, because you can play thousands of creations — either freely through a series of expert filters, or in a more structured way thanks to the 100 Mario Challenge. Each amiibo character activated through the Mystery Mushroom has surprises too, despite only being a cosmetic change. Super Mario Maker is much more versatile and surprising than I ever really expected. It is a game with enough potential to carry Nintendo“s show at E3, and it“s more than worthy of being the focal point of his 30th anniversary. For more information, check here. And don“t worry. That book you saw during the Digital Event comes with every copy of the game. I still haven“t seen the big Limited Edition Bundle with the amiibo anywhere, though!
  12. The Nintendo World Championships 2015 certainly ended with quite a bang today in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, the final game that closed out the tournament turned out to be the game previously known as Mario Maker, which now has "Super" added to the title. During the last round of the NWC 2015, spectators were treated to a number of levels that were represented in each of the game's four different visual styles that were previously revealed last year as well as a slew of new bits of info. It was revealed that enemies will be able to grow larger just like Mario if they come into contact with a mushroom, and that all enemies, items, and obstacles will represented in the four distinct styles. One example we saw of this was Bowser's flying clown copter being represented in the 8-bit style during a level that was played using the Super Mario Bros. 3 aesthetic. Also intriguing is the use of a few new "hats" as it were; NWC 2015 finalists Cosmos and John Numbers made use of a buzzy beetle shell (and later, a spiny shell) that became sort of a hard hat that would protect Mario from certain obstacles. I'm sure there's plenty more that we haven't seen yet as well. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information about Super Mario Maker later this week at E3 2015. Are you excited for Super Mario Maker after seeing it demoed during the NWC 2015 final matches?
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