Over one-billion dollars at the worldwide box office! And with its release in Japan later this month, it's expected to out-gross Toy Story 3 as the most successful animated film of all time. Congratulations Disney, it couldn't have happened to a better movie.
Well, I'm not sure if "impressions" is quite the right word since I've actually beaten the game, but anyway, here are some of my thoughts on DKCTF, with a full review soon.
Donkey Kong Country Returns was the best 2D platformer of the last console generation, and Tropical Freeze is even better. Returns maybe suffered a little from "revival syndrome," that is to say, it felt like Retro Studios was so busy bringing the series back into the spotlight that it often felt more like a remake than a sequel (albeit a brilliant remake). But now that they've re-established the series, it feels like they've managed to give it their own personality.
The level design is some of the best I've ever seen in a platformer. Tropical Freeze may not be the most revolutionary platformer out there, but it certainly is a creative one.
It's also one of the hardest Nintendo games. Ever. As in, it goes toe-to-toe with the NES games that seemed to kick you while you were down. But unlike some of today's platformers that feel a little unfair (I'm looking your way, Super Meat Boy), almost all of my many (many) deaths felt more like player error, as opposed to unfair game design.
David Wise, the primary composer for the original DKC trilogy on the SNES, has also returned, which means the soundtrack is a substantial improvement over Returns (which didn't have a bad score, by any means). Tropical Freeze is less reliant on remixes than Returns was (again, revival syndrome), and has more original music. But the remixes are still there, of course. And this time, there are even a few remixes from the grand soundtrack of Donkey Kong Country 2.
Pretty much the only major drawbacks in the game are that it doesn't utilize the Wii U's capabilities in any meaningful way (if you play traditionally, the screen on the Gamepad is completely blank, it's only use is for off-TV play), and that the load times can get a little ridiculous. I suppose I wish there were more animal buddies again (once again, only Rambi the rhino returns, while Enguarde the swordfish remains absent despite the return of water levels). But I suppose that one's more of a preference than a complaint.
In short, DKCTF may be the best game on Wii U, if maybe not the best Wii U game (if that makes any sense).
So I saw The Lego Movie last night. Expect a full review soon, but for now I have to say...what's the big deal? This movie has been getting ludicrous praise, but aside from the visuals, it doesn't really do anything unique or creative (which is particularly ironic given the film's message). Yeah, it was solid enough at what it did, but it didn't really have the imagination to justify all the acclaim it's getting. It's like How to Train Your Dragon all over again.
Okay, I try not to get too involved with review scores these days. But this one kind of needs mention from me (provided it's true).
So I was on game rankings checking to see if there were any reviews in for Tropical Freeze (I got my school done early...I was bored), and I checked the "news" section for the game, with the most recent news bit being from GameSpot titled "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review: 5/10."
Clicking on the link lead to a dead page, so maybe I'm misreading things, but the news link is also dated for 2/17/14, so I guess we'll find out on Monday.
But a 5/10? Really? Okay, I know I haven't played the game yet, so maybe this is the DKC fanboy in me talking, but after the GS editors praised the game in their previews, how does a score that's usually reserved for mediocre titles hold any weight? What, did they not have the editors who previewed the game review it? What's the deal?
Hopefully I'm just reading this wrong or something. Not necessarily because I care what score GS gives a game, but it does reek of unprofessionalism and attention-grabbing when they literally praise the game in previews and then all of a sudden decide it's mediocre. If they do give it a 5, I expect them to try to justify that it "isn't that bad of a score," even though their track record proves they think otherwise.
I swear, it seems like Mario is the only Nintendo property that's safe from this kind of stuff these days. I mean, when you have Game Informer of all people giving Nintendo games 9+ scores you know there's something iffy going on with GS.
So I've finally got around to Mass Effect. I picked up the trilogy box set, and naturally I'm starting from the first game.
I'm really enjoying the game so far. The way you shape the narrative and characters through your decisions is fantastic, and the combat, while not the focus, is also well done. I do definitely see the complaint most had with the first game about the friendly AI being... less reliable than you'd like (Dang it, Garrus! Stop dying!). But I hear this is ironed-out in the sequels, so that's good.
I don't have all the characters yet, I'm still missing the blue girl (sorry, forgot the name), but I have most the others and have been wandering around the citadel doing sidequests. It's all pretty fun, and again, I love the way the player shapes the experience.
Admittedly, I haven't had too much time to play since another semester just started, but I'm looking forward to going deeper into the experience.
Well, I haven't written a blog here in over a week, so I thought I'd write something. I couldn't think of anything, so for now... here's something. The films I've seen the most times in theaters (because some films are worth your time again and again).
5th place: Ponyo, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Wall-E, Cars, The Avengers (6 times each).
A fun assortment of movies here. In the case of the LotR films, I actually saw them five times in their original theatrical run, but in 2011 select theaters held a "one day only" thing for each LotR film in their extended editions. If they weren't so long I probably would have saw them more.
Wall-E is another one I saw five times originally, but I went to a special theatrical showing of it in 2012 I believe.
Ponyo is another film I wish I could have seen even more than I did. But unfortunately, since it's Japanese it means fewer people see it (open your minds people!), and since fewer people see it it doesn't stay in theaters for too long.
The Avengers is certainly one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and was fun enough that I could always find people willing to go.
Cars is the odd man out here. Despite what some people claim, the first Cars is actually a good movie. Just not up to the (former) Pixar standard is all. Hardly a sin. But it certainly is kind of the odd-duck of this lot.
4th place: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph (7 times each)
Same scenario with the other LotR movies, but with one additional viewing. I saw Return of the King six times (then my record) on the big screen in its initial 2003 theatrical run, but in 2011 I added a seventh big screen viewing to my list.
And yes, two Disney movies managed to grab seven times. Tangled in 2010, and Wreck-It Ralph in 2012. Not ashamed to admit that at all.
3rd place: The Dark Knight Rises (9 times)
No more ties from here on out. And boy did I see a lot of the same movies in 2012 (Avengers, Wreck-It Ralph, DKR). Although in retrospect The Dark Knight Rises is the most "flawed" of Nolan's trilogy, it's still a great film that deserved so many viewings.
2nd place: The Dark Knight (12 times)
Yeah, geez, jumping from 9 to 12. But can you blame me? It's The Dark Knight! Aside from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is probably the most critically-accepted "nerd movie" since the heydays of Lucas, Spielberg and Zemeckis in the 1980s. It's the best of Nolan's Batman trilogy, and the best super hero movie that isn't made by Pixar and directed by Brad Bird.
1st place: Frozen (13 times...and counting)
Yep, Frozen has broken my record. And deservedly so. It probably is more "in character" for me to have an animated film in the number one spot, and I can think of few as deserving as Frozen. I love it. Bring on the sing-a-long!
Movies I wished I'd seen more times in theaters: Spirited Away (2 times...what the?!), The Incredibles (4 times...I could have done better), Ponyo (the only film in between Dark Knight and Frozen that should have went into double digits), Toy Story 3 (5 times)
There are probably some films from my younger days (Toy Story, Toy Story 2) that should also probably be lumped here. But I was just a kid, back then my parents could only take me to so many movies.
So yeah, enjoy my bragging of my excess of free time.
In case you were wondering (or just completely forgot), I'm still doing that "best games ever" survey. But, I feel I won't be doing it too much longer. I plan on making the deadline for this survey March 31. It is possible I can change that down the road, but after having done this second survey slowly but surely for nearly a year and a half, I think that's a good deadline.
So again, that's March 31. After that I will begin compiling the final list of "best games ever" as tallied by the most popular games from the survey.
If you haven't yet taken part, why not do so now? Just let me know your top 10 favorite video games. Or if you have any friends who would like to participate, just let them know about it. :P
Anyway, with the recent Oscar announcements I wrote my seemingly-obligatory, annual retrospective of the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Here it is.