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Why I’ve Turned On My Wii U Everyday For A Month

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Why I’ve Turned On My Wii U Everyday For A Month

Wii U fans have had it rough since the launch of the console back in Novemeber 2012. I am not talking about the lack of quality games, because in reality, the Wii U has arguably the best library of the new Gen. What I am talking about is the long, extensive and numerous droughts that have plagued the system.

Unfortunately, one of the negative repercussions of droughts is that folks will have very little reason to turn on their dear consoles, until the next big release. So far it has been a vicious cycle: New title is released — Wii U is turned on until the game satisfactorily completed — Wii U isn’t turned on until a new title is launched. I am not implying that this is the typical experience of the average Wii U owner, but this has been my experience so far.

However, I’ve noticed a drastic change in my playing habits – something that has become quite apparent now – and that is noticing I’ve indeed turned on my Wii U everyday for one month now. The reason is quite obvious – Mario Kart 8. Surprise! Surprise! Right? On average I have an 2 hour play session online, sometimes it can be as long as 5 hours straight – a true testament to the addictiveness of Mario Kart 8.

That is besides the point; turning on my Wii U everyday for an entire month demonstrates the importance of having strong online experience in any library. Before the release of Mario Kart 8 – the Wii U severely lacked an original and exclusive an online experience. You could get a decent multiplayer fix from Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 or Ghosts, but the series has lost its shine many years. In my opinion, having a strong online multiplayer games, like Mario kart 8 and Super Smash Bros For Wii U are essential for any consoles, particularly if they happen to come from Nintendo, as they become an important fall back game when in dry software periods. They are fun fillers that can easily satisfy users months on end while waiting for the next big title.

Nintendo strengths have always been in developing solo experiences and couch gameplay, but I suggest that the Big N to develop more games compatible with online multiplayer.Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros For Wii U, and the fresh Splatoons is a great start, but I would love to havethese games during the great drought of 2013. Nevertheless, I am playing my Wii U everyday now and having a blast with Mario Kart 8 – keep up the good work Nntendo.

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5 Mega Evolutions I would like to see in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

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5 Mega Evolutions I would like to see in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

Being the follow up to Pokémon X&Y it is natural to expect that Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will feature the new Mega Evolution forms. I quite enjoyed the Mega Evolutions – not only does it add an extra layer to the already, but the whole idea of Pokémon going Super Saiyan is the coolest thing to happen to Pokémon since Infernape.

Pokémon X& Y introduced a pretty impressive line-up of Mega Evolved Pokémon – however – there is plenty of room to expand the cast of powered up Pokémon. With the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, this November, GameFreaks could potential unveil more Mega Evolutions for our playing pleasure. The more I thought about it – I noticed a large proportion of Mega Evolved Pokemon are from Generation 3. There is Mega Bannette, Mega Manectric, Maga Aggron,Mega Gardevoir, Mega Absol, Mega Medicham and Mega Blaziken – all of which could potentially be featured in the next entry of Pokemon. While GameFreak is at it – they might as well add a few more Mega Evolutions to the family in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire

So here are 5 Mega Evolutions I would like to see in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire.

Image Source: Devian Art

1-2. Mega Sceptile & Mega Swampert

Blaziken got an overpowered Mega Evolution; it only makes sense that the other starters of Gen 3 get an additional form. Mega Sceptile and Mega Swampert would be awesome additions to the Mega Evolution family. Sceptile is fast, swift and packs a relative strong punch with the signature move – Leaf Blade. On the other hand Swampert fits the description of Tank perfectly; slow, bulky and strong. While both Pokémon are strong in their own right, they have not able to maintain strong presences in high tier play (Swampert had a decent run in OU during the D/P days). With a Mega Evolved form – just maybe, Swampert and Sceptile will final get the attention they deserve.

3. Mega Salamence

I know many would argue that Salamence is already powerful as it is. But, I would argue you can never be too powerful in Pokémon, especially with so many fast and hard hitting Pokémon running around. To level out the playing field – powering up existing Pokémon appears to be the responsible thing to do. Mega Salamence just makes sense to me – the Pokémon is the trademark dragon for generation 3, not to mention it is one of the most powerful and versatile NON legendary Pokémon to ever grace the metagame. If this bad boy gets a Mega Evolution – I will be elated.

4. Mega Metagross

This list would have no credibility if I didn’t include Metagross. Considered as one of the most powerful introduced in generation 3 and one of the fiercest steel type ever – Metagross is screaming for a Mega Evolution. Metagross doesn’t exactly need the stat boost from the transformation per se – but, he would look pretty awesome with a Mega Evolution – particularly if you have a shiny laying around in you PC box.

5. Mega Mightyena

The poster child of Team Magma/Aqua. I’ve always had a soft spot for Mightyena, but his below average stats and abysmal movepool has held this poor mutt back from realizing its potential for far too long. For the remake, I would like to see the mighty Mightyena receive a new Mighty form in the form of a Mega Evolution.

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Why E3 2014 Will Be Make Or Break For Nintendo

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Why E3 2014 Will Be Make Or Break For Nintendo

Nintendo and its Wii U have been floundering with negative perceptions. To no fault of anyone, but themselves – Nintendo is unable to recognize that they are indeed a crucial factor in why the Wii U is failing to resonate with the masses. I hate to do this, but it is necessary to put the hindsight hat on – to examine what went so terribly wrong – and how Nintendo can improve their selves in the future. Now, before we have extremist Nintendo fans calling me a hater – please note, this is not a malicious attack on Ninty (actually far from it)! Besides, need I remind you that I am indeed a Nintendo Fan (Look at site name) – my intentions are noble, so relax.

Dwelling on the past is not going to help anyone at this point. What is done is done! “What If’s” and “Nintendo should have done this” statements are counterproductive. With this said – as someone who has a major in History and studied extensively Historiography in University – looking at the past can be beneficial in planning for the future – learning from your mistakes to improve yourself, if you will.

The trouble with Nintendo recently – for some unusual reason, have withdrawn into their shell – momentarily at times appearing to host a Nintendo Direct or Two. On the other hand, if you take Sony or Microsoft as a point for comparison – these companies have been able to maintain a positive presence for the consoles in the media and the gaming community – a feat Nintendo has failed to achieve. Even when Nintendo and their Wii U features on the headlines – it typically isn’t good news in the paragraphs following -with most following in line in ” X game isn’t coming to the Wii U” or “Wii U is doomed” or ” Wii U is underpowered” or ” Wii U has game droughts”. While some of the negativity is undeserved – most hold merit – therefore – it comes at no surprise that the perception of the Wii U isn’t entirely positive.

Essentially, Nintendo has failed to carve an appealing image for the Wii U from the very beginning. At a time where the entire world had their eyes on the Wii U (figuratively speaking, of course) - an event criticial for positive momentum into the launch window- Nintendo failed to make a favorable first impression at E3 2012. I can vividly recollect those moments almost two years. Pre- E3 2012, the atmosphere was ripe with hype – expectations from the entire community were at a massive high – especially considering Nintendo went completely quiet with the Wii during the previous years – it was only natural to anticipate a mind blowing conference.

Many individuals at the time felt that Nintendo was guaranteed to win E3, and win it easily by a mile. Well… It didn’t exactly turn out that way. What we got was a mix bag of good and terrible – effectively leaving the community baffled about the Wii U’s message; was this a console for the core gamer or the casual? In terms of what was good – Pikmin 3 was an excellent show starter, Lego City Undercover brought a sense of humor, and ZombiU showed the potential of the Gamepad when implemented in a core game. However, things went downhill as soon as Wii Karaoke U was shown on center stage, and was never able to recover – ending on a serious low note with the disappointment that was the Nintendo Land unveiling.

I do concede that it is necessary to focus on launch titles – however – an E3 unveil (or Re-unveil) for a new video game console should also convey a strong message for the future – to convince the community that this will be a worthy system to own for the long term. By no means should Nintendo reveal their entire hand – but showing glimpses of awesomeness could have altered perceptions drastically. I know in hindsight often strategies appear to be stupid – and I might be overly harsh on them, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Nintendo could have handled themselves better. Had Nintendo teased Bayonetta 2, Monolith Softs X, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Mario 3D World at E3 2012- I will be willing to bet that the perceptions of the Wii U would be drastically different from what it is today.

Just watch at Nintendo’s E3 2006 Press conference - look at their confidence in the Wii – examine their confidence in the message and look at the enjoyment of everyone – the undeniable sense of excitement. Go to the 15 minute mark of the video above – Nintendo presented a montage of the FUTURE games to be released for the Wii beyond the launch window – games like Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Fire Emblem, Super Mario Galaxy, Tony Hawk: Downhill Jam, Excite Truck and Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicle: The Chrystal Bearers. The problem now for the Wii U – is that potential consumers have little idea of what they can expect with the Wii U in the next 6 months, let alone in the next year or so, therefore, you cannot blame skeptical potential consumers – especially considering that Nintendo console’s have been prone to long game droughts.

Furthermore, it was a critical mistake on Nintendo’s part to decide to host a ND instead of a traditional Press Conference. While I do enjoy Nintendo Direct’s immensely, I do not believe they are a suitable alternative to a traditional Conference. E3 is by far the biggest event in the gaming calendar, and it is an opportunity to make a BIG statement, especially amongst a live audience that can display RAW excitement. Many interpreted Nintendo lack of a conference as a sign of defeat, an admittance that they cannot compete with Sony or Microsoft, a lack of confidence in their product. Ironically, Nintendo had an incredible line up of games showcased during the E3 Direct – I mean they unveiled Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 2, and best of all Super Smash Bros For Wii and 3DS. By any measure – this is a fantastic display of games for an E3 conference – a line-up that eclipses anything shown by Nintendo’s competitors – so why did they go back into their shell?

What I am actually getting at – is that Nintendo has failed to make a BIG STATEMENT at big moments during the Wii U’s life so far. When it was time for the Wii U to shine – Nintendo has let the console down by their poor strategy and messaging. This needs to change! Nintendo will need to drastically alter the perceptions of the community by having an incredible E3 Conference that demonstrates a strong future for the Wii U. This is why I believe E3 2014 will be make or break for Nintendo’s Wii U.

If they turn up at E3 2014 with a lackluster performance, then I cannot see why anyone should have faith in the Wii U, when Nintendo themselves, are showing little faith. E3 2014 is the time for the Wii U to shine – showcase games that will inspire and excite the community – so much so – that they will be saying to themselves “Hey, I need to buy a Wii U now”. Now is the time to fight back before it reaches the point of no return!

Perhaps, it is disingenuous to put so much weight and blame on a mere conference, however, I do believe this is a symptom of an overarching problem – which is the poor messaging of the Wii U’s appeal and a failure to get the community excited about the console. Rejuvenating the Wii U is a feat many consider impossible, and unprecedented – but I am refusing to count the Wii U out – especially considering Nintendo has a nasty habit of making a comeback. I hope E3 2014 has some pleasant surprises for the Wii U, and the community in general. Come on Nintendo! You can do it!

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5 Pokemon You Would Love To Keep As Pets

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5 Pokemon You Would Love To Keep As Pets

(Image Source: Doginstructins)

When I was a child – which coincidentally was during the height of the Pokemon phenomenon- I would often fantasize about keeping Pokemon as pets. I know it is lame and childish – but hey – I was 8 years old and having a wild imagine is a perk of spring time youth. Back in those days – Pikachu was all the rage – and by a large margin was the most popular Pocket Monster – certainly the most wanted Poke Pet. However, the years have passed since Generation One – with Pikachu no longer in the minds of the mass– so it is about time that I put my brain to use – and to fantasize about the important things in life – answer serious questions – such as imagining which Pokemon you would love to keep as pets.

So here are 5 Pokemon you would love to keep as pets. And no… I will not be selecting Pikachu – because it is too cliché and it is almost a given that we all want one.

(Image Source: Devian Art)

Arcanine

If dogs are man’s best friends – then Arcanine is the best of best of Friends. Arcanine is a fierce Pokemon sporting a magnificent mane and a mesmerizing orange pelt with black stripes. With such majesticism – it comes as no surprise that Arcanine is considered a legendary Pokemon – despite being abundant in the Pokemon world. Apart from its beauty, Arcanine has utilities that make it the perfect pet for any household. Arcanine’s justice heart and its undying conviction to do good is a valuable asset to protect your family and home. With a formidable Arcanine guarding your backyard– I’d seriously doubt any Drongo will be tempted to rob you – unless they are packing a sneaky Greninja.

(Image Source: Deviant Art)

Mareep

Mareep is an obvious choice considering my Ozzy heritage. With Lamb so entrenched into the Australian culture – Mareep is a Pokemon that I could not overlook. Mareep is an adorable Pokemon – with a face that can melt the coldest hearts and comfortable fluffy that would cure the worst case of insomnia. Mareep would be the perfect companion for youngin’s and adults alike. Just imagine, it is a cold winter night –dark and freezing – Mareep would be the ideal pet to sleep with – the electricity of the tail can light your way through the black if you need to chuck a tingle, and the wool would make a perfect blanket to keep you warm. Plus, you can make a few bucks on the side when you sell that beautiful.

(Image Source: Funny Junk)

Dragonite

I’ve always wanted to train a dragon, therefore having a Dragon poke pet is the best solution. If I were to choose one dragon Pokemon – then it would definitely be Dragonite. Dragonite is the perfect middle ground for a Dragon pet – it does not have the intimidating look of Salamence, or the obscurity of Goodra and it isn’t weak like Altaria. Best of all Dragonite has amazing utility as a pet. Who needs Cars when you have a super fast Dragonite? No need to pay for expensive yearly services! No more dear Petrol! Plus, you are helping the planet by using a green form of transport. Furthermore, Dragonite is one of the most powerful Pokemon – regularly tiering at OU in competitive play. I’ve always dreamed of owning one myself – having one by my side will make me the coolest kid in the playground.

(Image Source: Deviant Art)

Furfrou

I did not forget about the pet aficionados. Furfrou existence is to satisfy individuals who love to style animals up and show them off with a large smug smile on their face. If you are an individual that prefers looks over utility then – Furfrou is the go to Pokemon. Furfrou has versatile fur – able to cut, style and color in any manner you see fit. Once done, take that proud piece of art for a walk and flaunt it to your envious neighbors.

(Image Source: Foolz)

Lumineon

If you are lazy bum – like yours truly – then a low maintenance pet like Lumineon might be right up your alley. Keep this glamorous Pokemon in a fish tank and watch it glide through the water – make Lumineon the centerpiece of your living area. I assume caring for a Lumineon isn’t demanding – it would be like goldfishes – feed it regularly and clean the tank when needed – that’s it! Right?

Of course, there are many notable Pokemon I could name. For example, Pikachu, Delcatty, Granbull, Sylveon, Evee, Florges, etc… Whatever you consider worthy to be your beloved friend could make a perfect pet- except for Muk and Garbodor – unless you like a garbage and foul stenches.

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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review – The Death of 1000 Kongs

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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review – The Death of 1000 Kongs

Some of my readers might be wondering why it took me so long to write a review for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The game was launched in late February and at the time of writing, it is the middle of March. In truth, the game took longer than expected to beat because of the difficulty. Writing a review based on an incomplete experience just for the sake of a deadline does not align with my principles. In my opinion, a review should be a fair critical analysis of an individual’s experience of the game – therefore one must give a game a fair go – forgetting any pre-perceptions. Now, that I have spent an extensive time with the game – I am comfortable in sharing my review to my readers. So what is the verdict? Is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a worthy addition to Wii U owners?

One thousand Kongs had to die in order for me to write this review….. And this is not some gross over exageration on my part. Without a doubt – Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is going to be one of the most challenging games of the generation. The difficult foundation of DKCR is elevated to insane levels in tropical freeze – I found myself screaming profanities, walking around scratching my head to cool down and rage quitting very early into the game – I mean very early – so early that I am too ashamed to admit. Though difficult – I never once felt the game was cheap. Sure Tropical Freeze throws challenge after challenge, obstacle after obstacle, but it never verges on the ridiculous or pulls cheap tricks to annoy the player. When you die it is always your fault – either that jump was not timed well, DK’s position was wrong or you simply did not react quickly enough.

The challenge is achieved through the masterfully crafted levels. As expected from the Retro Studios- a large amount of creative flare went into the level designs. For example, one moment you could be holding for your dear life on moving poll decorated as animals from the Savannah, the next you could be on a thrilling mine cart ride on a chainsaw plagued Wood Mill, the next could be meticulously platforming against a ravenous bush fire and then finally you could be attempting to escape the grasp of a giant octopus in the darkest depth of the ocean. The amount of creativity and ideas that went into the level design and aesthetics is commendable – and most certainly Tropical Freeze demonstrates Retro’s growth as a quality developer.

One of the key Difference between Tropical Freeze and its predecessor return – is that levels are generally much longer in duration. For the most part each course is broken up into three sections – which is clearly marked by the Pig Check Points. For less skilled players, the design choice is quite ingenious as it allows you to take on the challenges in bite size pieces. So if you happen to die so close to the finish line– you will no longer response at the start of the stage or the half way point. This relinquishes the frustration of redoing the same sections again and again, especially if you already have mastered a certain part. Essentially, it allows the player to refocus at the challenge at hand.

I found, the key to success is learning from your mistakes. I know it is the cliché thing to say, but it is the honest truth. Perhaps, the satisfaction of succeeding after so many failures is what makes Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze so rewarding and is the primary driving force for players to continue. For example, at the last section of Windmill hills – I could not for the life of me surpass the collapsing platforms section– although slightly frustrated – I kept to my guts – and tried over and over gain. Even after countless failed attempts – I knew that with a little determination and conditioning myself to memorize the level that the challenge was conquerable Guess what? I finished the level after being stuck for an entire. So many modern games fail to create a sense of achievements – which in part is due to the growth of cinematic’s in our industry – however – I believe this what makes Tropical Freeze such a gem – success after adversity is an incredible feeling – a feeling that I have missed dearly – and I thank Donkey Kong for creating a reward experience.

Success from learning patterns, certainly remains true with the boss battles. I find it very difficult to believe (more like refuse to believe) that an average player can defeat any boss in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze at their first attempt. The bosses pose a mighty challenge themselves – the damned Seal will annoy with its swiftness on ice, the Owl will have you killed with lethal feathers, the Monkey’s will play tricks on you, the puffer fish will have you drown in the depths and the Polar bear will have you seeing banana’s with his large hammer. No doubt they are challenging, but not an impossible feat by any measure- simply one needs to learn the behavior and attack patterns of the mighty foes to conquer them.

At one point during your time with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze everything seems to click together – it is as if you reached gaming nirvana. The combination of expertly designed levels and the difficulty creates an experience that appeals to the many senses of the gamer – entrenching them so deeply into the game that putting down the GamePad becomes a difficult task.

Fortunately, Donkey Kong does not have to go at it alone. This time alongside his trusted pal Diddy Kong – Dixie and the ever so popular Cranky Kong joins in the fun. Besides the extra hearts that the DK’s friend provides – I found the abilities of the three pals an invaluable asset in finishing the game. Diddy Kong’s Jetpack allows DK to remain in the air for a little longer allowing you to land safely, on the other hand Dixie’s helicopter hair can give DK a little elevation while Cranky Kong can traverse devious terrain. Don’t under-appreciate your furry pals – at certain stages (especially during boss battles) – their assistance is essential to victory. Furthermore, you could also buy additional items from Funky’s shop that can give you additional help – but in general – I found little use for them.

As expected from a game of the “Country” series – Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze boasts a sublime soundtrack that even rivals the incredible themes of the Super Mario Galaxy series. Composed by the accomplished David Wise – the entire soundtrack of Tropical Freeze is simply a marvel to behold – it has the variety of new compositions mixed with retro tracks with new spins. Most laudable is how the composition is able to capture the essence of the art design and theme of the level. For example, Grassland Grove (my favorite stage) captures the rawness of the African spirit. Don’t just take my word for it – listen to it yourself.

Unfortunately – I felt a little underwhelmed by the presentation of Tropical Freeze. Artistically, Tropical Freeze follows the same aesthetic design of its predecessor, Donkey Kong Country Returns. While Returns was visually brilliant on the Wii – I felt that Retro could have pushed their artists even further rather than being content with replicating the same visual style of DKCR. Don’t get the wrong idea – Tropical Freeze does look great, but I believe many won’t be able to shake the feeling that limits can be pushed more. At least. DKC: TF runs at a smooth, sexy 60 frames person second.

Furthermore, it is rather unfortunate that DKC: TF does not use the Wii U GamePad in meaningful ways. Besides, the standard off-screen play – the GamePad is non essential for the game. The second screen could have been used to offer a different camera perspective’s and lend itself well for unique level designs. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a superlative game – one that nails the fundamentals of game design through excellent crafted levels and worthy challenges. There are a few issues that hold it back from true greatness, but despite this – it really is hard to fault – to what is- a sublime game. In order to write this review, one thousand Kongs had to perish – however- in truth and honesty – the sacrifice was well worth it.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us Wii U Review

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I am a difficult person to please when it comes to fighting games. The fighter is one of my favorite gaming genre’s (just behind action adventure); however, unfortunately I despise certain franchises, which I will not name here. The biggest hurdle for any fighter is to balance the learning curve to master the game for competitive play. I think many would agree that most fighters are easy to pick up to play casually amongst your friends, but the challenge is to draw in new fans in higher level play in online matches and tournament play, this is where I believe differentiates the quality of fighters. In my opinion, the best experience is always found when two skilled players fight it out. But if I find the title too difficult to master then the game automatically loses its value and merely becomes a game that is played on rare occasions.

As a fan of the genre, I was genuinely curious about Injustice: Gods Among Us, not only because it is a brand spanking new fighting franchise, but it also features a star struck cast of DC Super Heroes and Villains. What more could you want? Fortunately, the curiosity killed this cat, and consequently was not able to resist the urge to purchase Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Injustice: Gods Among Us puts many demons that continue to haunt the genre to rest. For starters, Injustice is the first fighter that I have played that doesn’t have a god awful story mode. Convoluted, nonsensical plot lines typical of the brawler genre are not found in Gods Among Us. You won’t find no devil genes, Soul Edge or crazy tournaments here – no sir. What you have is a game that uses its source material to its full advantage – creating a universe both interesting and engaging. The design choice is quite ingenious really, instead of tacking on individual stories for each character – the story mode is cohesive narrative incorporating each playable Hero and Villain.

The story mode is quite literally an animated movie very reminiscent of the Saturday morning cartoons you would watch as a child. Think of it as an Interactive movie, with the movie part more dominant than the gameplay section. I say this because the majority of your time will be spent watching cut scenes then actually playing the game. Of course, there are ample opportunities to join in the fight, however, I quite enjoyed putting the controller down to watch the Green Lantern fight himself.

I did find one negative out of this design choice and that is that the mode forced you to play characters that you are unfamiliar with. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, I am not bothered to master all characters in the game – so you can understand it can be frustrating when you are forced to play a character you are unfamiliar especially against difficult fights. However, this problem can be offset if you are willing to go through the 150+ STAR Lab challenges, which are essentially challenges that allow you to improve your skills with the characters (that’s what it said in the description). You earn stars to progress forward by completing objectives in matches. For example, the easier challenges will ask you to avoid taking damage for 20 seconds or perform a 4 hit combo.

Thankfully, the game isn’t all that hard to grasp. It’s like that saying; once you played one of them – you have played them all. This certainly remains true with Injustice Gods Among Us. NetherRealm does not stray too far from the typical fighting formula and from what I can gather – is that this dev does have a good understanding of what makes a good fighter. The basics are all here; Light, Medium and heavy attacks, special techniques performed by directional inputs such as down forward and so forth. However, if somehow you are struggling to get a firm grip on the concepts – NetherRealm has kindly implemented an easy to follow tutorial mode that goes through all the necessities to be a master of the dominion – I do believe this is the greatest tutorial for a fighter (from what I have played). I appreciated that NetherRealm was courteous enough to add a tutorial for those new to the franchise (or Mortal Kombat) or in general is someone whom has found fighters difficult to get into – Injustice: Gods Among us is perhaps one of the most accessible games in the genre since Super Smash Bros Brawl.

Obviously, the biggest draw of Injustice Gods Among Us is the multiplayer and the superb cast of playable fighters. If you happen to be a looking for a solid DC game featuring your favorite Super Heroes such as Super Man, Batman and Flash or even your favorite villains, then Injustice is the game you have been looking for. With a cast consisting of 30’ish characters – I found my curiosity tickled by experimenting with each and every character until I found that one that suited my playstyle. Like all fighters, the best fun is to be had with a group of friends sitting around the television, taking turns fighting one another – there are no better ways to enjoy Injustice Gods Among Us. My favorite fighter is without a doubt Batman, which in my opinion is a well rounded fighter. Butnoobies will no doubt pick the broken Man of Steel.

Besides, with the Wii U version you do not have a choice, but to play with friends. To no fault of the game, but online play is literally nonexistent as you cannot find players in lobby rooms. I have spent hours – scuttering through lobbies looking for a match, but that was to no avail. If you have a PS3 or a 360, I would recommend these versions over the Wii U simply for the reason that you might get an online match. But if online is a non issue, then by all means buy the Wii U versions.

Since I am completely unfamiliar with the Mortal Kombat series (NetherRealm was responisible for the 2010 Mortal Kombat title), I cannot make a certain judgement that Injustice: Gods Amongs Us plays in similar fashion. However, in my opinion, the style of gameplay is more akin to Street Fighter as oppose to Tekken, Virtue Fighters or the BlazBlue series. To be honest, I have trouble describing the style of fighter Injustice is – perhaps it is the sort of genre that is best understood by playing rather than reading a string of sentences. But the biggest distinction for Gods Amongs us, is the importance of stage interactivity and the neat wager system…… Oh, and of course the fantastic cast of playable fighters.

Considering the Wii U current limited library, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a solid contender for a fighter to join your collection. The most laudable aspect of Injustice: Gods Among U is most certainly the story mode, which is a superhero movie on its own right. However, that’s not to say it isn’t a good fighter – on the contrary it is. But the lack of online play on the Wii U version is a downer. However the pleasure of viewing Superman kicking in Batman’s skull is well worth the admission

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Super Mario 3D World Review

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Super Mario 3D World Review

As first impressions go – Super Mario 3D World had a horrid one. Making its first appearance at E3 2013 – the debut trailer was uninspired and lacked the typical Mario magic we have come to expect for each upcoming entry. I learned many years that you should not underestimate Nintendo – especially when it comes to Mario. Now that Super Mario 3D World we can safely say that many people are eating crows including myself. Without a doubt Super Mario 3D World turned out to be better than what we initially expected – in fact it will be forever remembered as one of the best games of this generation – perhaps even as one of the greatest Mario games ever.

You will be happy to hear that Super Mario 3D World does break away from Mario conventions. I have not been playing Mario games for that long – to be honest the first Mario game I’ve finished is Super Mario Galaxy – so my knowledge of the series is limited. With this said, it was exciting when I discovered that you will not be saving Princess Peach this time around simply because I hate tired tropes especially reused ones that involve saving a certain princess. However don’t expect great feats in storytelling as the story is very much a throwaway. In simplistic terms Mario and Co will venture off to save a group fairies from Bowser, it isn’t exactly great storytelling, but it does provide context for the gameplay.

Super Mario 3D World follows the same gameplay style as its predecessor – Super Mario 3D Land – as oppose to the adventure orientated style of the Galaxy branch. The gameplay is a mesh of old school and new ideas with a strong emphasis on tight platforming that is typical of 2D Mario’s and modern game design. In each and every level – the goal is to get to the flag pole at the end of the stage. While on paper it does sound like the 2D Mario games but the design follows more in line with 3D platforming principles. Essentially 3D World is a bridge between two Mario styles.

The most impressive aspect of Super Mario 3D World is the level design. Nintendo’s mastery over game design is once again in show in Super Mario 3D World. Levels are crafted with precision and care – so much so – that every platform is positioned perfectly – that every enemy is placed deliberately – that every coin is panned out to correspond with a jump – it is a game thought has so much thought invested into its heart. Most laudable is how much originality and creativity is used in the level design. Not once did I have a feeling of déjà vu while playing Super Mario 3D World, by that I mean, the levels always have their own unique twist and design level. Ultimately the gameplay offers unrelenting variety and freshness – a feat that very games archive. One moment you will be jumping around in a cat suit, the next you will be sidescrolling 2D style behind the shadows, the next you could be on the back of a Dino sliding down waterfalls, the next you could be following the beat of the music – the imagination and creativity that goes into the level design is truly impressive. Best of all is that towards the second half of the game the game notches up the difficulty level up with some truly devious courses.

To compliment the level design – Nintendo has included a few new power ups into the Mario universe – the most noticeable being the cat suit. When in cat form Mario can swipe at enemies, but more importantly the cat abilities allow you to climb on walls making long vertical stretches easier to traverse. The second new power up is the double cherry which upon use creates a clone of your character. The joy of using the double cherry is juggling your clones simultaneously especially in tight platforming sections.

However, in my opinion the biggest selling point of Super Mario 3D World is the multiplayer. In multiplayer you can select one of four characters: Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad. Each characters has their own perks, for example Luigi can jump higher, Toad runs faster and Peach can float. The beauty of multiplayer is that you can compete by attempting to earn the highest score. I found my group scrambling to get that one coin or stomp on that Goomba just for the chance to get top honors. Admittedly, I was quite skeptical about multiplayer especially after playing NSMBU, however after playing with a few buddies sitting on the couch to play the game, any skepticism I had was soon gone, in fact the best experience can only be had in multiplayer. Unlike NSMBU, I had the impression that the stages have been designed specifically in mind for multiplayer. At the moment I am having difficulty explaining how, but the game is much more accommodating for multiplayer. Perhaps it is because of the 3D plain allowing players to traverse in open spaces giving multiple players more room to play with. Perhaps it is because, novice players can bubble themselves towards other players allowing the most adept person to tackle on the difficult parts. I implore you, if possible, that you play Super Mario 3D World with friends as this is where the game shine at a whole new level. It is unfortunate Nintendo did not attempt to incorporate online play.

This is a 3D Mario game, so you would expect excellent production values from Nintendo. From a visual standpoint, Super Mario 3D World is by far the best looking Wii U game, ahead of Wind Waker HD and Pikmin 3 at this point. While it does not have the same artistic vibrance of the galaxy games, SM3DW does sport a clean crisp look with moments of absolute beauty. Think of 3D Land, but in HD with better shaders and visual effects. I found the lighting in certain stages simply beautiful that sometimes I would stop playing for a moment’s time just to eat up the eye candy. Furthermore, I found the music equally impressive. The tunes are consistently catchy with the 3D World theme being the highlight. Unfortunately – similarly to 3D Land – SM3dW does recycle the same tracks again and again, by that I mean you will hear the same tune from other stages – so the novelty can wear thin.

I find it very hard to fault Super Mario 3D World as it is the complete package. The game is packed to the rafters with content even after you finished the game. At the time of writing this review – I am attempting to complete the game 100% – this requires collecting all green stars and stamps in each stage plus the additional optional bonus stages. You know what Super Mario 3D World is well worth your money and definitely a good reason to buy a Wii U.

This would not be a fair review if it did not criticize the game. Unfortunately, for a game that is touted to be a system seller for the Wii U – Super Mario 3D World does not utilize the gamepad well. As expected with all Wii U games –offscreen play is available – that is all well and good. However, I felt that Nintendo tacked on some gamepadimplementationfor sake of it which ultimately felt out of place in the game. For example, some stages forced you to blow into the gamepad or use the touchscreen to activate platforms, however performing the actions whilst attempting to play the game felt incredibly awkward.

While it might not be the ideal game to showcase of the consoles unique capabilities, Super Mario 3D World is a very good reason to pick up the Wii U. It is a game that sports superb level design, visual candy and an insanely fun local multiplayer. With Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo has once again reaffirmed their position as masters of game design.

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