Tag Archives: Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Review

SSBSuper Smash Bros. for Wii U (Available exclusively on Wii U)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1 to 8
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Sora Ltd, Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: November 21st, 2014

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Super Smash Bros. for Wii U E10+ for everyone ten and up. The game features cartoon violence, and that’s about it. It’s a bright, colorful, and fun fighter. There are no realistic depictions violence in the traditional sense. Here you can bash your opponents with a giant mallet, you can throw them off a massive arena, or you can blast them with a wide assortment of wacky power-ups. Imagine if Super Mario Bros., Zelda, and all the other classic Nintendo franchises got together and asked one simple question, which one of us is the best fighter out there? That’s what you can expect from this wonderful game.

Plays Like: Normally I would say it plays like all the other Smash Bros. games, but the truth is that I have virtually no experience with the series outside the 3DS version. So what I will say is that the game features a wide assortment of side modes, a robust single player offering, great Amiibo integration, and a kick ass online mode. The core gameplay requires you to throw your opponent off the screen, by any means necessary.

Review Basis: I played all the various modes available, spent far too much time training Amiibo characters, and got my butt handed to me in more online matches than I would care to admit. I am by no means a master player, but I will proudly say that I’ve come to appreciate the series in a whole new way thanks to this excellent fighter.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a fantastic game that features a wealth of side modes, Amiibo integration, and great single and multiplayer modes. If you have to purchase one Wii U game this holiday season, this is the one you want to pick up. There are so many different modes available that it often feels like you’re purchasing more than one game. Couple that with the great Amiibo figures and you could very well spend the next year with no other game than this one. The fighting system in place is great, and over time you can master each characters’ move set, and attain pitch perfect timing.

SSB4The Great:

Value. That’s the one word that comes to mind when I look back at all the different gameplay modes available. From the classic mode, to the online ranked mode, and everything in-between there is something here for literally everyone. There are now 8-player battles, there’s a cool spin on Mario Party, and then there’s the Smash mode where most of you will be spending the bulk of your time. That’s where you and your friends can learn to master each of the dozens of characters available. When you combine all of these elements together, it’s incredible just how much value there is in this one game.

SSB2The Good:

  • The Perfect example of easy to pick-up and play, but tough to master. Each character has the exact same button commands. Don’t expect circular fireball moves here, no instead the moves are incredibly simplistic. Press a direction and a button, and that’s it. You have two primary attacks, a block and a grapple. That’s all she wrote. What changes with each character are their unique abilities. While up and A might be an uppercut for one character, it might be something completely different for another, perhaps an up-strike for Link, or a cape sweep for Mario. Then there are projectile-based characters which use the same basic commands, but control completely different than everyone else. The timing is also slightly different for each character. What ends up happening is, you’ll find a character you enjoy using, and spend the next few weeks mastering all their finer details, and that’s what makes this game so bloody special.
  • Respecting your heritage. One of the absolute best aspects of Smash for Wii U is how the game pays homage to all the franchises that came before it. From Duck Hunt to Sonic the Hedgehog every stage, theme song, bonus item, and character move set is inspired by some legendary game, series, or franchise. I absolutely loved that. It was amazing to hear so many classic songs with modern twists to them. If you’ve been playing on Nintendo-made consoles since you were little, this is going to tickle your nostalgia bone.

  • Options galore. First off, you can play the game any way you want. From using the GameCube controller with the newly released adapter, the GamePad or the Wii U Classic Controller, the choice is yours. Then there’s the fights themselves. Do you go one-on-one with items off to test your skill, or do you go item on and 8-players for complete chaos? I adored how every aspect of the game has tons of choices available for you to tweak.

  • Event, classic, special orders, All-Star, and the board-game like Smash Tour all offer up their unique takes on the classic action. Some give you specific challenges, whereas others drop random elements into the fights and have you duke it out. Whatever you decide to play, each gameplay mode offers fun in short bursts. If you want to play for hours on end, odds are you’ll find yourself going between the different gameplay modes, while spending the bulk of your time refining your skills online.

  • Speaking of online, there are a nice set of online modes. From ranked modes that keep tally on your wins and losses, to the free-for-all, you can select between one-on-one matches, team matches, and more. The awesome eight-player matches are local only though, which is a bit unfortunate because those matches are completely insane.

  • Beautiful at 60 fps. This is a technical showpiece for the Wii U. During all of the different gameplay modes and matches I played, I never noticed any dip in the framerate. Keep in mind it’s entirely possible that I haven’t experienced every single aspect of the game, and I actually believe I haven’t as there’s just so much. That said, the attention to detail in the environments, and the stunning framerate make this a silky smooth experience you’ll want to come back to time and time again.

  • The audio is also fantastic. While some of these music scores might be recycled from previous games, they all sound amazing. I absolutely loved going to each new stage to hear familiar tunes from the Zelda franchise. That’s my favorite after all, so it holds a special place in my heart. The others were equally as impressive though.

  • I didn’t expect to enjoy the Amiibo integration as much as I did. From spending time to level my figures to 50, to using them against my opponents, I’d say the Amiibo figures are going to sell quite well. I love that I can bring them over to a friend’s house and tackle his team with mine. It’s excellent. There are several ways you can train and customize your Amiibo fighters too, which adds some much needed depth to an otherwise simple concept.

SSB3The So-So:

+/- The arena builder isn’t as intuitive as it should be for being on a system with a touch screen controller. Simple omissions like not being able to create a platform and then move it without having to erase and start over are major oversights. I also found the whole system to be overly cumbersome. It’s a shame too because that really could have been a huge time sink for some, but now I see it being more of a novelty.

+/- I played quite a few matches online and if I knew who I was playing the matches were always spot-on with no lag, however if I played random matches they were a hit and miss. Most, I’d say around 85% were fantastic, however every now and then I would disconnect. Since there is no way to see the connection strength of your opponents, I can foresee this being a problem moving forward. The fact most of the game runs smoothly is a great sign, but hopefully some tweaks will be made to inch that number closer to 100%.

SSB1The Bad:

  • I find it a little silly that in 2014 I still have to text a friend to tell him I want to play a game with him online, since there’s no notification system. Once we’re both online everything else is a breeze, and works perfectly, but the fact I can’t just send an invite and he gets it in whatever game he happens to be playing is kind of sad.

The Lowdown:

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a fantastic game, probably the best currently available on the Wii U considering all the value you get in this one package. Couple that with the prospect of potential downloadable content later on, Amiibo integration, and the robust gameplay modes already available and you can see why the Wii U should have a very successful holiday season. If you own a Wii U, this is one game you should have in your system as of right now, and if you don’t own a Wii U, what the heck are you waiting for? With Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, and now this, plus the awesome Virtual Console offerings, there is something here for gamers of all ages.

Final Score: 9.6/10

Pokémon Y Wonderlocke!! – Ep 2 “A Costly Victory”

In the second episode of our Wonderlocke, Steven makes a crucial mistake and ends up losing one of his best Pokémon. This is just the second episode and it doesn’t look that great for our hero.

Wonderlocke Rules:

1- When a Pokémon faints, it is considered “dead” and cannot be used anymore. It has to be either released or stored in a specified PC Box titled “Cemetery”.

2- You can only capture the first Pokémon you find in every new area and nothing else. If it faints of flees, there are no second chances.

3- The captured Pokémon must be Wondertraded and cannot be used in battle. You can however use the Pokémon obtained from Wonder Trade.

4- If a Pokémon obtained from Wonder Trade is too overpowered or over-leveled, you have 1 of 2 choices. Store it and keep it for later or Wonder Trade it again until a more suitable Pokémon is obtained. This is a one time decision and cannot be reversed.

5- If you receive the same species of Pokémon twice, you may Wonder Trade it again until you get a Pokémon not previously obtained.

6- You must give a nickname to all of the Pokémon you catch, for the sake of forming stronger emotional bonds.

Pokemon X And Y Wifi Battle Vs Denny – Incredible Mixed Tier Action (OU/UU/NU)

This is the first battle I’ve had with this team and it turned out to be a fantastic duel. I have tons of battle saved up so look forward to more regular uploads as soon as I receive my tripod. In the mean time, please leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to see in future videos including pokemon suggestions. Also, if you want to challenge me, leave a comment or PM me. I never refuse a challenge.

E3 2014 Press Conference Impressions

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all held press conferences in LA…well ok Nintendo held a digital event, but whatever.  The point is that tons of new games were revealed, and we now have a much better idea what to expect from the next 12 months for each of the big three console manufacturers.  Here are my reactions to the press events.

Microsoft Press Conference:

Sony Press Conference:

Nintendo Digital Event:

What are your thoughts on the big three?

Gamecube Memories: Pokemon XD Gale of Darkness Review

Pokemon X & Y might have been the first real 3D adventures we craved and deserved for over a decade, but they were not the first time a Pokemon RPG went into the third dimension. Pokemon Colosseum can indeed claim that title but I’ve never had the chance to play it. Instead, I recently completed its sequel ‘Gale of Darkness’, also on the Gamecube. From what I’ve gathered, XD made plenty of improvements over the formula introduced in Colosseum. For starters, just like the portable gems, you can save and continue your game at any given time. You can also tell right away from the start of the battle if there’s a shadow Pokemon present, and purifying them is now a lot more simple. I’ll talk a bit more about that later but since I have not played Colosseum, I’m gonna judge Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness as if it was an original title.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the entirety of the game is played via double battles. That’s pretty freaking cool actually and makes the experience different and unique since double battles were first introduced in Generation 3 (Ruby/Saphire/Emerald) and have since been nothing more then an afterthought in the main games. While the AI doesn’t use the intense strategies you can find in the VGC nationals, they can still surprise you from time to time with a basic protect/earthquake combo.

You start the game with an Eevee and are quickly given the option of evolving it into a Flareon, Jolteon, Vaporeon, Umbreon or Espeon. I chose Espeon and in my opinion, it made the game a lot more easy then it would have been with the other starters. There are so many types weak to psychic attacks that my Espeon really put in some work and made most of the game a breeze. It also carries Bite which can knock off Psychic and Ghost types and can learn Shadow Ball later on for even more coverage. Still, this is a pretty kick ass starter.

The shadow Pokemon mechanic is pretty interesting. Team Cypher is an evil organisation who wants to turn Pokemon into fighting machines. Your goal is to steal every shadow Pokemon you see with the intent of restoring them to their true form. You do that by lowering their hp during a battle and using a pokeball after, just like you would with a wild pokemon. The difference is that this actually occurs during a fight with another trainer. We’ve been told since the original Red & Blue that we couldn’t capture other trainer’s Pokemon. It feels bad ass to be able to do so in this game.

Shadow Pokemon are limited in their abilities. They remain with the same type weaknesses, but they only carry shadow moves. These moves are super effective against every non-shadow Pokemon. They can’t level up until they’re purified so there’s not much reason to carry a shadow Pokemon around unless you want to purify him. You can do so in various ways and the game does a pretty good job of explaining the process to you.

The storyline was pretty entertaining for a Pokemon adventure. The characters, especially the villains, were all colorful and interesting. It’s a kids game however so don’t expect anything close to a triple A adventure ala Shadow Hearts. Unfortunately, since this doesn’t have the same metagame you’d experience in the core Pokemon titles, the plot won’t be enough for most. All you do in XD is battle other trainers. There’s no incentive to raise your Pokemon since you can’t bring them online after to battle your friends. Because of all that, I found the game to drag on by the twelve hour mark. Since this is a 15 to 20 hour RPG, Gale of Darkness could prove extremely repetitive and tedious for the average gamer.

Still, for my money, any Pokemon fan should try to experience Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness at least once. It’s nowhere near the top when it comes to role playing games of the Gamecube/Xbox/PS2/Dreamcast generation but it’s nowhere near the bottom either. This is simply a solid videogame that Pokemon fans will eat up while other gamers could find some enjoyment out of. I can only hope that Nintendo has plans to create a full 3D Pokemon game similar to this for the Wii U in the near future.

Pokemon Pearl & Diamond Review

pearlPokémon Diamond & Pearl (Available exclusively on Nintendo DS)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Genre: RPG
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: April 22nd, 2007

The 4th generation of Pokémon games are my personal black sheep. They contain the only Pokémon games in the main series that I had never completed in the Pearl/Diamond/Platinum and HeartGold/SoulSilver versions. For one reason or another, I wasn’t in the mood for Pokémon gaming back then. I did buy Pearl when it came out and before I restarted a file, I had 10 hours invested into it so it’s not like I never gave it a chance. I’ve been watching a tremendous amount of ‘Let’s Play’ videos and documentaries on the history of the series lately and it’s gotten me in the mood for some more Pokémon. I thought there was no better excuse to go back and finally complete the last main entry in my favorite video game franchise, and so I did. Here’s my verdict.

The Great:

My god has Pokémon changed over the years…. and for the most part, the better. But there’s one complaint that always comes up when I talk about recent entries and that’s the difficulty level. Pokémon Pearl was the most challenging Pokémon game I’ve played since the original Red and Blue. Like any RPG out there, you can make it as easy as you want by grinding indefinitely, and if you choose that route, you’ll likely think I’m crazy, but I chose the complete opposite. I went from point A to B from start to finish without any grinding whatsoever. Once I had captured my team, I used repels during most of the adventure to accelerate things even more. And sure, that would make any game harder than it is, but you got to understand that I’m no beginner when it comes to Pokémon so I already have an advantage that most wouldn’t.

What truly makes the game challenging is the following factors. Leveling up takes a lot of time. Even defeating Pokémon five levels above yours doesn’t gain you that much experience. Another extremely important aspect of Pearl & Diamond is the fact that you’re going to face diverse teams. While most trainers will sport the series tradition of only having one type, most will surprise you by having two or more types in their party. And I’m talking about gym leaders and Elite 4 members here, you can’t just start with a water type and spawn Surf and expect an easy victory. Finally, Elite 4 members challenge you with five Pokémon each while the champion has six. Not only that, but these pocket monsters will be five to ten levels higher than your top Pokémon on your team. This forced me to finally cave in and evolve my Pikachu just before the final fight with the champion. Ash would be disappointed in me.

02The Good:

+ The very best batch of starters I’ve seen. While Infernape is kick ass, Fire/Fighting is not uncommon. After-all, Blaziken from Ruby & Sapphire sported that very same dual type, but then it gets pretty interesting. Not only is Empoleon’s design bad ass, but he might also be the only water/steel mixture in the entire game. Finally, you have Torterra who seems to have a freaking forest on his back with spikes thrown in for good measure. Being Grass/Ground doesn’t hurt either. We haven’t seen such unique starters before, or since.

+ I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the over-abundance of HM moves in Pearl/Diamond. For me it added to the challenge and made things more interesting. It also forces you to take mental notes of areas you’ll have to come back and visit later on.

+ Super visuals and audio presentation for the time. This game looks pretty nice on a DSi and the songs are some of the best I’ve heard in the series so far.

+ Post game content is excellent. Battle Tower is back from Pokémon Crystal, and there’s also tons of legendaries to catch after you’ve dealt with the Elite 4 including the odd, but fan favorite Regigigas.

+ All your Pokémon can be transferred all the way to Pokémon X & Y if you’d like too.

01The So-So:

+/- While you may no longer use the Nintendo DS Wi-Fi Connection to battle in the 4th and 5th gen games, this is where Pokémon finally made its online debut. It was a bit underwhelming to say the least with bare-bone features and connection issues all over the place. Still, this was a huge step for the franchise back in the day and one that has made Pokémon a stand out in the e-sport industry thanks to Pokémon X & Y.

03The Bad:

– Probably the worst storyline in the franchise after X & Y. It’s practically non-existent, and when you do get a truly epic moment in your final standoff with Team Galactic, it’s ruined when you face the leader of the gang, a truly evil guy, and realize you only have four Pokémon to worry about during the battle.

– For some reason, it takes forever for the health bar to lower during battles. Surfing on water is also extremely slow. I heard that these were all fixed with the Platinum version, but they’re indeed annoying.

04The Lowdown:

Never underestimate Pokémon is the feeling I’ve come back with after having completed Pearl for the first time. This is a series I’ve cherished since Red & Blue and every single entry in the series has been rock solid. While I’m not sure where it would rank in my personal favorites, it’s still a game I’d recommend any day to any portable gamer. Like the franchise itself, Pokémon Pearl might not be perfect, but it’s damn enjoyable. Fun from start to finish, you can’t go wrong with Pearl/Diamond. If like me, you’ve never experienced the DS classics, you might want to reconsider.

Final Score: 9.0/10

Mario Party: Island Tour Review

Mario Party Island TourMario Party: Island Tour (Available exclusively on Nintendo 3DS)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Party
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nd Cube
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013

Mario Party has been around since the early Nintendo 64 days. It’s a series known for its wackiness and great multiplayer, however this 3DS installment fails to recognize what makes the franchise so much fun. As such, this one should be left for only the most hardcore Mario Party addicts.

The Great:

Visually, the game looks beautiful with tons of bright, vibrant, and flashy colors, and all your favorite characters well illustrated. The mini-games are also a blast to play and use all of the 3DS’ functions perfectly.

The Good:

+ Bowser’s Tower is a unique twist to the series, challenging you to tackle mini-game after mini-game in order to reach the top of the dungeon. This is probably the mode you’ll spend the bulk of your time with.

+ Plenty of different maps for you to try on as well as unlockable characters and goodies to keep you playing.

+ Most sessions are set up so they can be completed in five, ten, or fifteen minutes, making them perfect for portable play.

Mario Party Island Tour3The Bad:

– Removing online play is a gutless and lazy move. Knowing that the name itself would easily sell the game and make Nintendo a reasonable profit, no investment whatsoever was made to keep this game true to its roots. Nobody plays Mario Party alone, it’s just boring to duke it out with computer controlled bots. You can play locally, but that requires multiple systems and that’s only going to be a practical option to a few. Adding an online mode would have cost more, but would have warranted this game’s existence because the core gameplay still works. I can see the problem that some players would eventually quit instead of finishing a game, but they could easily be replaced by an AI character when and if this scenario occurs. The rest of the game could then be completed. It’s baffling to see Nintendo pull this crap off left and right. I know some will say it’s beating a dead horse, but I don’t think we should stop pointing it out.

– I’m not a big fan of the new race mechanic. Instead of playing for a set number of turns and trying to earn as many stars as possible, every map is now a race to the finish. This makes the experience feel like you’re not getting the full Mario Party experience.

Mario Party Island Tour4The Lowdown:

No online play means no recommendation from me. This is only for the hardcore fans and even then, it won’t stay long in your 3DS.

Final Score: 5.0/10