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SloganYams Blog

Merry Christmas! + My New Website is Here!!

Merry Christmas you wonderful old building and loan! May you all have peace and happiness on this wonderful day!

As a Christmas present (to myself, I guess), my new website is finally up and running! I have 18 video game reviews, 2 animated movie reviews (and working on a third), one top 5 list, and one other article already up for your reading pleasure, plus an about page (and a page about my new scoring system within the about page). The new site is...

Wizarddojo.com

Yes, it's a silly name, but also awesome! I hope you enjoy it, and I'll get cracking on more reviews and whatnot soon, including reviews for Playstation, Xbox and retro games!

Merry Christmas!

My New Website is Coming Very Soon!

Hey everyone (and by 'everyone' I mean two people...you know who you are)! I guess it's been a while since I put a blog here on GS, and although I don't have much to say at the moment, I do have something (relatively) big. My new website will be up very soon! Actually, it technically is up, I just haven't put anything on it just yet. I have a few video game reviews written and ready to go, but I'm waiting until I have a good batch of them before I "officially" launch it. I also will not link to the site until I have everything together.

Please note that this first wave of reviews may be somewhat short, since I'm trying to make sure I have a decent handful all at once. Still taking my time with them, but don't expect any 2000+ word reviews out the gate. Also note that some of them will be reviews for games I've reviewed before, so there may be some similarities there. I'm trying to get around to reviewing all my 3DS and Wii U games, so some will be new, others rewrites (also, I plan on doing reviews for games on Sony and Microsoft consoles of course, as well as doing reviews for older and classic games from the PS2 era, PSOne/N64 era and even the NES and SNES eras in time). I will also launch the site with at least one top 5 list, and hopefully a review for an animated film or two before I set it all up.

So yes, I'm tooting my own horn. I apologize. But I've been promising this new site for a good while now, and I'm happy that it's almost ready. It may not be much, but hey, it's just starting.

Mario Maker

Okay, so Mario Maker is basically the best thing ever. The E3 demo was enough to put it high on my radar for 2015 games, but the most recent trailer now has me more convinced than ever that this could be the make-your-own game I've been waiting for.

Sure, some people will say things like "LittleBigPlanet already did that" or "Mario Maker looks too simplistic." But what Mario Maker has over similar games is, well, Mario. Whereas LittleBigPlanet is a wonderful game-making tool hampered by inconsistent gameplay and awkward physics, we all know Mario, if anything else, guarantees a great sense of control. Super Mario Bros., Mario 3, Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U are all the currently revealed aesthetics for the game, so if you can make stages based on those templates, that's something to be excited about. As for the simplicity, well, while it doesn't look like the game has the ability to make dialogue and cinematic options in the way LittleBigPlanet and its kin do, its focus on level design might be a case of less being more, allowing players to be more creative with the tools at work.

Nintendo already showed off the Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. U aesthetics back at E3, but actually seeing the Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World visuals (and sounds!) at play has now tripled my excitement for the game. And seeing the unique ways you can manipulate traditional Mario elements (canons shooting coins!) shows that there may be a lot more to Mario Maker than we at first thought.

There are, however, two concerns I have for the game: The first is that Nintendo has yet to announce if your created stages can be shared online. Last I heard Nintendo said they were "considering" it. Consider nothing, this is one instance where online capabilities are a must. Granted, actually making and playing levels will be the core of the game, but downloading other people's stages and playing through them should be the obvious extention of that concept. The fact that Nintendo is finally making a Mario level editor is a dream come true, but not being able to share your creations with other may put a damper on the experience. Let's hope Nintendo makes the right (and obvious) choice.

The other concern I have is more of an issue of preference. I have to wonder if all of your creations will end up being standalone stages or if you can (preferably) link a few of them together. I don't suspect you'll be able to make a full-on Mario adventure (even LittleBigPlanet 2 only allowed you to link so many), but if you could make a small series of levels (a "world" if you will) to be played together, it would definitely add something to it.

But aside from those two issues, I have nothing but high hopes for Mario Maker, as it's a game I've always wanted. Sure, some insufferable hacker types will insist that emulators exist, but not everyone has the patience (or technical savvy) for such things, and hacking through a game's code just doesn't have the same appeal as having it presented to you as a kind of virtual toybox. The fact that this is an official Nintendo game will most likely ensure it will be an accessible experience, one that hopefully even those of us who don't know the first thing about programming lingo can have a go at.

Let's hope Nintendo realizes what they have going here. After all, once people worked their way around LittleBigPlanet's editing tools, it seemed like the majority of players jumped at the chance to recreate the Mushroom Kingdom. Now we have it handed to us on a silver platter.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Early Reactions

After spending a considerable amount of time this last week playing Super Smash Bros. on Wii U, I think I can confidently say that it's more than likely the best Smash Bros. game ever. Yes, better than Melee, better than Brawl. It feels far more balanced than its predecessors, and there's so much more to it than the solid-but-lacking-freshness 3DS version.

At first I was iffy with Nintendo releasing the 3DS version first, but I think it ended up being the right move. The 3DS version gave you a great taste of what was to come, and the Wii U version is the main course.

I know people have already gone on about the "For Fun" and "For Glory" aspects of the game, but it's hard to understate how impactful these aspects are. Smash Bros. has always been a series with a broad appeal - some love the party game fun of it all while others enjoy the deeper fighting mechanics - and the Wii U version (and 3DS as well) hit a home run with catering to Smash fans of all kinds.

Yeah, it uses the same characters as the 3DS version, but there's just so much more to the game as a whole. Stage builders, screenshots, a better classic mode, Smash Tour, eight player battles, far more creative stages, better and more varied music (seriously, that music!), and the game looks absolutely gorgeous. There's just so much of everything, it's probably one of the most content-heavy games I've ever played. There's always something to do, whether its spending hours in one of its more robust game modes or just messing around with some of its smaller tools. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

I know, I'm ranting. But being a big fan of Smash Bros. I feel this is the game that could be seen as the series' definitive entry. This is especially great after the 3DS version, while great in its own right, felt more like a transition to handhelds than the next step in the series' evolution. But Smash Bros. for Wii U has a sense of freshness, and just so much content to it. It goes without saying that it's one of the best games on the Wii U (I'd put it neck-and-neck with Tropical Freeze, which was so much greater than it got credit for).

Smash Wii U is a definite must buy if you have a Wii U. If you don't have a Wii U, well, you have no excuse at this point. Get the freaking console already! It has a wonderful library that has built up over these last two years, and has now just been capped off with its most-hyped game (and plenty more in 2015), which more than lives up to that hype.

Big Hero 6, Intersteller, St. Vincent, Pixar Sequels, Super Smash Bros. and My New Website Soon...

It's been a few weeks since I've blogged here, both because I was hoping my list of 50 greatest video games ever could get some extra attention in this increasingly-barren GameSpot (by the way, here it is again for your enjoyment), and because I've been busy with college and whatnot. With that said, I have had some good time to go to the movies, so here's some quick opinion on them.

Big Hero 6:Let's get this out of the way, Big Hero 6 is no Frozen. But that's nothing to be ashamed of. Frozen took me by complete surprise, as I kind of grew arrogantly dismissive of Disney's inability to add a true sense of depth to their stories, only for Frozen to prove me dead wrong on so many levels. It turned the Disney princess movie into something thematic, and was also immensely entertaining.

By contrast, Big Hero 6 is a tried and true super hero flick. It's a good one, to be sure, but given that it's bound to be compared to both Frozen (its immediate predecessor) and The Incredibles (Disney's other super hero movie) - both of which also happen to be my two favorite Disney films - it falls short by some margin. But again, it's hardly a sin for an animated film to not be Frozen or The Incredibles, and by its own merits Big Hero 6 is pretty darned good. Baymax is an endearing sidekick, Hiro is a likable main character, the animation is top-notch and it has very good action sequences. It does have some faults: the four other members of the titular six are exactly who their one-note introductions say they are, and certain story elements feel rushed as to make more room for action scenes, and other aspects teeter on the predictable. again, it's a tried and true super hero flick.

But overall it's a whole lot of fun, and if it weren't for The Wind Rises and Tale of Princess Kaguya, it would be the best animated film of the year (I detest The Lego Movie and found How to Train Your Dragon 2 to be "just okay"). And Marvel fans will appreciate the little details added to the film to make it feel like the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without spoiling too much, Stan Lee gets his token cameo, and I advise people to stay for the credits.

Intersteller: Intersteller is one of those movies that's hard to talk about without spoilers, so this will be short. Overall a very great movie (albeit a long one). The acting is incredible, the visual effects are great (with one sequence being the first visual effect in years to really make my eyes pop), the story is great (save for a few wonky sci-fi elements towards the end), and the writing is strong. If you can sit through a three-hour movie, this is a definite recommendation.

St. Vincent: St. Vincent is a great movie overall, with Bill Murray being at his absolute best. It's funny and touching. Though I have to admit (again, without spoilers) there is some conflict introduced towards the latter half of the film that seems to magically resolve with no explanation. But aside from that, this is certainly an entertaining and funny movie that also manages to tell a good, character-driven story (something a lot of today's comedies need to brush up on).

Pixar sequels: So....Toy Story 4..... Yeah....

Don't get me wrong, I adore Toy Story, with the second entry in particular being one of my favorite movies. But surely I'm not the only one who felt Toy Story 3 was a fitting end to the series (that almost enforced the idea that it was the end, no less)? Part of me is really excited for it, but I also feel it's largely unnecessary. I get that Toy Story continued with TV specials and short films, but that felt like a good compromise. Extending the core theatrical films gives a little bit of a "is nothing sacred?" vibe.

Toy Story 4 comes on top of the already-announced Cars 3 (groan) and The Incredibles 2 (yay), as well as Finding Dory (skeptically excited). And of course this all comes after we've already had Monsters University, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3 in recent years. Pixar has been off of their game for the past few years, but now I'm beginning to wonder, with all these sequels in tow, has their originality dried up? I know some will point out The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out, and while those films may end up to be really good, I can't say they've really won me over yet (Inside Out almost just looks like a reworked Monsters Inc, but with ironically-less imaginative character designs).

I'm skeptically excited for Toy Story 4 and Finding Dory, have zero interest in Cars 3 (though I'll still probably end up seeing it), with The Incredibles 2 being the only one I'm truly excited for, seeing as it's the one Pixar movie I always felt could have had a sequel. It's just a shame that now The Incredibles 2 will be "just another Pixar sequel" in a lot of people's eyes.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U:Yes! It's out! I'll probably be picking it up later today, and I'm very excited. The 3DS version was, but more or less felt like it was just bringing the fundamentals of the series to the handheld realm. Thankfully, from everything I've seen and read (and the demo I played at E3) the Wii U version looks like the real deal, the next step forward for the series. I can't wait to play it. It's still just a shame Dixie Kong got snubbed while Dark Pit made it in (seriously, what was going through their minds with that one?).

My new site/blog: I have to admit I feel like something's been missing with the absence of my constant linking of my reviews here on GameSpot. Truth be told I haven't written too many reviews on my current blog for months, as I've been busy, but also trying to save some things for my new site, which I've been promising for too long. I actually have a good number of game reviews written for my new site, some of them brand new and others reworked reviews for games I've done before. I'm hoping that in not too much longer I can get it all together and launch my new site (and maybe a new Youtube channel to go with it). Honestly the only thing holding me back...I can't think of a good name! The site will primarily focus on games and animated films so for a while I was trying to go with something that said what it was... But I couldn't come up with something that didn't sound long-winded. So now I'm at a bit of a loss for a name. Maybe something that's simply fun (think "The Android's Dungeon" from the Simpsons...but not The Android's Dungeon from the Simpsons). I don't know, anyone have any ideas?

Anyway, I have more stuff I want to write, but this blog is already longer than it needs to be. So peace out for now!