Super Mario Galaxy review
I know this is a belated review but it is better late than never.
Mario has always pushed the boundaries of the industry. It has defined the 2D platformer and redefined design of 3D games. When you think Super Mario cant get any better, Nintendo does it again. Nintendo reaches for the stars and discovers new galaxies. This innovative, creative and sublime platformer, is not only is one of Marios best adventures but one of the standout game of the generation. It is hard to imagine where Mario goes from here.
Bowser continues his unusual obsession of kidnapping Princess Peach. This time Bowser has taken Peach to the centre of the universe and the only way to reach her, is to power up the Observatory with power stars. This is classic Mario. So dont expect complex storytelling, character development and dialogue trees. If you bought Super Mario Galaxy for the story, then you have serious problems.
Super Mario Galaxy is all about that delicious gameplay. That beautiful, delicious and succulent gameplay. Nintendo really outdid themselves with Super Mario Galaxy. There is so much variety and innovation oozing out, that I have ran out of superlatives for Super Mario Galaxy.
I did not always think like this. There was once a time, when I thought Super Mario Galaxy was a rubbish game. Yes you heard me; I called Super Mario Galaxy a rubbish game. So what changed my mind? I just did not understand why people loved Mario so much. So I decided to play through the game again. The second time playing through the game opened my eyes to the brilliance of Super Mario.
In a nutshell, the basic goal is to overcome obstacles to obtain the power star. But the level design of Super Mario Galaxy will keep you engage from star 1 to star 120. The sheer variety and quality is mind boggling. The levels have their fair of challenges and difficulty. One level you could be traversing through the sky on a giant Dandelion. The next level you could be balancing yourself on a ball across a mini golf like course. There are boss battles, time trials and races. Im sure there is much more to do in Super Mario Galaxy, but naming all of them is a colossal task. The best part is that each power star feels unique and rarely feels similar to a past objective. Earning them is quit rewarding.
The real draw of Super Mario Galaxy is the fancy gravity physics. In fact this game design is an important facet of Super Mario Galaxy. Jumping into gravity has a nice sense of weight and verticality, plus there is some nifty level designs around it. I love the 2D platforming levels. There is a lovely twist with gravity which forces Mario to run and jump on both the floor and ceiling.
Lets not forget the power ups. The usuals like the Fire Flower and Rainbow star make a return. However there are some new power ups that will hopefully make a return once again in the future. My favourite and the most used is the bee suit. Just like the name suggests, Mario transforms into a bee. Apart from the fact that Mario looks awesome as a bee, the Bee suits grants Mario useful abilities. You will be able to cling on adhesive surfaces and fly for a short period of time.
The controls are tight and precise. Controlling Mario is responsive and natural. However it does take time to get accustomed to the gravity. There are motion controls in Mario. You can the pointer to collect star bits in distance. Tilt the control to balance Mario on the balance ball. Shake the nunchuk to do the Mario. The motion inputs dont add anything substantial and the game will not be poor without them.
It should take around 10-15 hours to finish the game, but if you want to collect all the stars, your playtime could easily triple that number.
The presentation value in Super Mario Galaxy is sublime. As limited the Wii is in the specs, Nintendo sure knows how to make an incredibly good looking game. Super Mario Galaxy is the undisputed king of the Wii. Galaxy is clean and crisp. There is a level of detail and texture in Super Mario Galaxy that is commonly seen in a HD console and not on the Wii. The music is equally superb. Fully orchestrated and wonderfully composed. Listen to Gust Garden Galaxy, and you will understand what I mean.
In terms of negatives, I cant think of anything. I cant really fault Super Mario Galaxy. It does take a while to get into the game. For some it may be repetitive to collect the power stars, but just like myself, just give it another go and you will not be disappointed.
If you read up to this point, you will already know how I feel about Super Mario Galaxy. Sublime, magnificent, excellent, wonderful - there is not enough superlatives for this game. If you have not played Super Mario Galaxy at this point of the generation, then stop whatever you are playing and insert Mario Galaxy in your Wii.
One reason that the Wii was such a disappointment was the absence of the StarFox series on the console. I concede that the series has waned in quality during the GameCube era. But neglecting a series, as iconic and legendary as Starfox, for an entire generation is a criminal offence. Nintendo has a perfect opportunity to make things right for the series and for the Starfox fans, with the Wii U. In fact, I believe with the Wii U gamepad, the series can once reclaim its lost accolade as one of Nintendos killer apps. So here are my ideas for StarFox Wii U.
Asymmetric Co-op in the Campaign.
One of the key selling points of the Wii Us gamepad second screen is asymmetric gameplay. If you are still unsure what asymmetric gameplay means, 1up has a fantastic article explaining asymmetric gameplay. Essentially, asymmetric gameplay means two players will have separate experiences as they play together.
There are so many possibilities for Starfox Wii U to take advantage of the gamepad. For example, the player using the gamepad will be piloting the Arwing while the other player on the television will be manning the cockpit of the great fox. The Arwing, the more nimble machine, will be picking off the smaller target. The larger but slower, Great Fox, will be ploughing through the enemy armada by sheer force. Both players are in the same battle, playing at the same time, but their experiences are completely different. The combinations dont end there. Perhaps Arwing + Landmaster. Maybe Landmaster + Blue Marine. If you have played Metroid Blast in Nintendo land, the experience will be very similar, but implemented on a grander scale and in a full campaign.
Completing two objectives simultaneously in one mission.
This is an extension of my first idea. Starfox is primarily a rail shooter, but certain missions can change into free range mode in a moments notice. The freedom in such missions can lead to interesting set pieces. With the asymmetric gameplay possibilities of the Wii U, missions can assign specific objectives to players. Just visualize it. Player ones responsibility is to destroy the enemies base and while the second players assignment is to hold the allies lines. It is just like the team work in a squadron. The key to a successful mission is cooperation and synchronization.
This is probably the most pedestrian use of the gamepad. I expect this to be the bare minimum for Starfox Wii U. The gamepad screen will show the radar, ammo supply and the communication screen. Its very purpose is to clear the television screen.
This is more gimmicky than my other ideas. Nevertheless I still believe this would be quite cool in Starfox Wii U. I call it cockpit view. Essentially, the gamepad screen will show the view from the cockpit. The television will display the usually 3rd person view. The beauty of this, is that you can play the game two ways. On the gamepad you can play Starfox Wii U like a first person shooter. Or you could play normally on the television. Brilliant aint it?
So here are my ideas. Do you like them?
Do you have ideas of your own?
Fire them off in the comment section.
checkout the article here
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The general perception of the Wii U is currently terrible. Wii U sales numbers during the launch window are abysmal. The software droughts are terrible. The Wii U is in a ugly position. It is only been 6 months since the launch, there is absolutely no way that the Wii U can make a comeback. You know what this means. The Wii U is doomed. There is no other way to put it. Everyone else is writing off the Wii U. So it must be true. So here are my two reasons why the Wii U is doomed.
Reason 1: Cuz Michael Pachturd says so
The first reason that the Wii U is doomed, is because Michael Pachter has already predicted the failure of the console. Gamers often call Pachter an idiot. I have to disagree. An idiot would not have a high paying Job at a respectable investment firm. An idiots opinion would not be repeated in the gaming media. An idiot would not have his own show. Someone who is constantly wrong would have lost his job long time ago, so Pachter is doing something right. We must trust in Pachter because he is analyst of the gaming industry and we all know analyst are smart and not idiots.
The proof is in the pudding, just look at all the predictions Pachter got right:
We expect the dominant console at the end of the next cycle to be Sony PlayStation 3, primarily due to our assessment that Sony will win the high definition DVD format war. Ultimately, we see Sony winning the console war with 36% of the market, with Nintendo capturing second place at 34% and Microsoft finishing third at 30%. These estimates do not include market shares in Japan, which we expect to be dominated by Nintendo (51% through 2011) and Sony (44%).
With such an amazing track record, we can definitely trust Pachter.
Michael Pachter has made it clear that the Wii U is doomed.
"I think they misfired on the Wii U," said Pachter. "It's just not that different from the other two [existing] consoles, and the gameplay isn't as unique as the Wii. They made a mistake, it's something they probably can't recover from."
So, yeah I think they are about to Dreamcast themselves. I dont think Wii U is going to be as popular as probably Nintendo thinks its going to be"
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Just watch his latest interview with Adam Sessler. There is no way anyone can argue against his claim. The way he supports his analysis with empirical evidence, statistical data and with the latest trends in the industry. It isn't based on a hunch. Not at all subjective or bias. It is crystal clear that the Wii U is destined for oblivion and obscurity. Pachter will bet his impeccable reputation on it.
Reason 2: The gaming media is very smart.
Journalism is a well regarded profession. Critical thinking and problem solving skill - key attributes needed to be a journalist. Naturally the gaming community will turn to the gaming media for the latest interpretation of the industry. The general consensus from the gaming media is that the Wii U is doomed. It is one negative article, after another, after another, after another, after another and after another. If the media decides that the Wii U is doomed then it is.
Nintendo fans have been defending the Wii U with their irrational arguments. The Wii U needs games. Nintendo needs to market the console better. It is too soon declare the Wii U is doomed. The media is jumping the gun to quickly. Their constructive criticism is irrelevant and 6 months too late. The fact of the matter is that, the Wii U had a terrible launch, there is absolutely no way the console will make a comeback. Just look at the Ps3 and 3DS, both respectively had a terrible launch and just look how doomed they are now.
The bottom line is - no matter what Nintendo does or can do to save the Wii U, the Wii U is doomed regardless. It is the natural order of the gaming industry. Just wait until the PS4 or 720, for the cycle to continue once again.
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3DS will become an unstoppable monster this year
3DS is selling remarkably well. It is incredibly how Nintendo managed to turn the fortunes of the handheld around so quickly. It seemed like it was only yesterday that the 3DS was doomed. It was one 3DS is doomed article, after another 3DS is doomed article, after another. Is the 3DS still doomed haters? I don't think so.
This year is going to be huge for the console. I think this is going to be the biggest year the 3DS will ever have. Im calling it now, the 3DS will become an unstoppable monster. It will be the number one selling video game console of the year, and i don't think any other console will contest the race.
No doubt the 3DS will be overshadowed by the announcements and arrival of the next generation console from Microsoft and Sony. Lets face it, next gen consoles is exciting stuff and eyes will be on them this year. But we should not forget about the enormous potential of the 3DS.
So far the 3DS has started the year with a bang with incredible titles already on the market. America has gotten the critically acclaimed Fire Emblem Awakening with Europe scheduled to get this amazing title at the end of April. Luigi Mansion 2 has been received well by the critics and the community. The onslaught of high quality games don't stop here. Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. Project X Zone. And the possibility of Bravely Default: Flying Fairy coming to the west. Add these games to the already amazing 3DS library - you may be seeing the makings of one of the greatest handhelds of all time.
Here is where my monster metaphor comes in. The 3DS will be getting two monster related games that will guarantee the console a position at the top of the charts. The first one is Monster Hunter 4. Although Monster Hunter 4 is unlikely to leave Japan this year, but that won't stop it from selling incredibly well. Japan is absolutely crazy for Monster Hunter. It is the Call of Duty equivalent for the Japanese (but so much better). Vita is making a comeback after the price drop, but without a Monster Hunter game, the 3DS is almost guaranteed domination in the land of the rising sun. The handheld battle will be officially be over in Japan, I don't see the Vita contesting the 3DS after the release of Monster Hunter 4.
The awesomeness of the 3DS doesn't stop here. Perhaps one of the biggest games of the year and a title that is likely to light up the chart like no other, is Pokemon X&Y. A series first, Pokemon X&Y will have a simultaneous worldwide release. Consequently the 3DS will get a huge boost in all regions. A really huge boost. Hopefully the next generation Pokemon will breathe more life into the average 3DS sales number in North America and Europe. Pokemon alone will be more than enough to dominate the charts. The 3DS is constantly at the top of the charts without Pokemon, imagine what happens when it comes out. It will be Nintendo domination all over again. Grand Theft Auto 5 will likely cause a huge spike in the PS3 and 360, but I can't see GTA being a big enough force for the HD twins to overtake the 3DS for a significant period.
I think it is safe to assume this will be another successful year for the 3DS. The 3DS will hit it's stride and will become an unstoppable monster, from both a sales and software perspective.
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6 Future Improvements I want to see in the Wii U
Video game consoles are like fine Wines the more they mature the better they get. Just think about it. The deeper into a consoles life cycle the games look better, the game plays betters and the console generally performs better. Just like last gen, the PS3 and 360 have improved so much from their infant self, it almost seems they are completely different consoles. Right?
The Wii U is no different. When the Wii U starts to hit its golden age - we will see amazing looking games, the console will deliver amazing experience and hopefully the community will finally recognize its potential. As it stands now, the Wii U has room for improvement; actually plenty room for improvement. The beauty of the situation is that Nintendo has time to implement improvement to the Wii U. Here are 6 future improvements I want to see in the Wii U.
1. Unified Tropies/ Achievement system
Achievements/Trophies have been implemented into almost every game, that it has become almost a standard for every software release to have them. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy achievement hunting and obtaining a covenant platinum trophy. The Wii U really missed the mark by not implementing a unified achievement system. I understand that not everyone enjoys achievements. Those who dont like them can simply ignore them, and those who do enjoy them would love achievements on the Wii U. It wont kill anyone just to have some form of achievements on the Wii U. Will it? Make it happen Nintendo. Make it happen! Just imagine how much more value can be added to New Super Mario Bros. U if it had achievements. Many of Nintys franchise can benefit from achievements. That is my opinion.
2. Revamped pro controller
I dont like the Wii U pro controller. There are things I like. And there are things I absolute hate about it. I get the impression that the Wii U pro controller was a last minute implementation to please the core gamer. It is the small design flaws that bring the Wii U pro controller down. Why the glossy finish? Besides the problem of finger marks I hate how the glossy finish retains the oil from the palms. Furthermore the exclusion of a headphone jack is criminal. Its 2013 Nintendo, please get with the times. I dont want to be tethered to the Wii U gamepad all the time. I dont like chatting while playing Black Ops 2 but sound advantage from a professional headset is essential. Having the Wii U gamepad beside me, even when I am using the pro controller is annoying. This is a personal nit-pick, but I would like the buttons to be a little bigger. Finally, replace the digital triggers with analogue. I know I have been quite harsh with my criticism on the Wii U pro controller, but it can be fixed easily.
3. Extended battery life for the Wii U Gamepad
This one is a little harder to implement. But Nintendo needs to find viable solution to the gamepad poor battery life. From personal experience, the Wii U gamepad last between 5 to 6 hours. I have managed the battery well, but I believe Nintendo should not be content with the Wii U gamepads battery life. How do they Fix it? Maybe they should follow Nykos suit by having adding a peripheral to the gamepad. Maybe when Nintendo develops a longer lasting battery, we can replace the existing battery with the newer version. Will Nintendo find a viable solution to the Wii us gamepad battery life? It is unclear now, hopefully Nintendo has something in their pockets.
4. Improve voice chat.
Voice chat on the Wii U is a huge problem. Nintendos official stance on the matter is that it is up to developers to implement voice chat. The PS3 was heavily criticized for the absence of cross-game chat. One would assume that the next gen console will feature cross-game voice chat. It is a bit unfortunate the Wii U doesnt have it from day one. Wii U has a lot more ram than the PS3 and there is even a built-in mic on the gamepad. So implementing cross-game voice chat should be easy to implement into the Wii U by a system update.
5. Miiverse app for websites
Miiverse is a revelation for Nintendo. Currently Miiverse is one of the Wii Us killer features; I can see it taking off from here and expand into new territories. We know that Miiverse is coming to PC and smartphones, but the details on the implementation is scarce. I would love a Miiverse app for websites. Just like the Twitter and facebook widgets. Follow mii-gamer.com on Miiverse! Mii-gamer.com on Miiverse! Miiverse would be really awesome on a community forum. Wii U and Miiverse has untapped potential, it would be a disaster if Nintendo does not unleash it.
6. General stability of the Wii U
Yes. Yes. I know Nintendo will continue to update the system to improve the speed and stability of the console. The next update will significantly reduce the load times. I just find the need to mention this. As it stands the Wii U is a little volatitile it takes a while to load up games and sometimes it freezes on a regular basis.
Here are my ideas. Do you have any improvements you want to see in the Wii U?
Fire them off in the comment section.
check out my website: www.mii-gamer.com
Assassin Creed 3
Assassin Creed series has transformed itself into a yearly blockbuster. Since number 2, a new Assassin Creed game has been released every year. Just like the Call of Duty games people will eventually going to get sick of the series. So does Assassin Creed 3 introduce anything new to reinvigorate the series? Is the game worth playing for long-time fans of the series? Well, the bottom line is that Assassin Creed 3 isnt a dramatic revolution for the series but dont be fooled it still is a fantastic game.
The biggest draw for old fans to invest in Assassin Creed 3 is the story. The Assassin Creed 3 continues the series lore of the war between the Assassins and Templars. The world is endangered and the only person who can save humanity is Desmond Miles. Just like with previous games Desmond primary mission is to enter the animus to search for clues behind the Templar war.
The biggest change in Assassin Creed 3 is the change in settings. If you were tired of the renaissance and Italy then Assassin Creed 3 is a breeze of fresh air. The game is set in young colonial America in the 18th century on the onset of the revolution. The British have overstayed their welcome and the American people want them out.
America is a nice backdrop for the narrative. New York and Boston are bustling in life commoners freely walk the cities, riots can be spurred and annoying little children attempt to steal your stuff. America is a living and breathing world dynamic and believable. The cities in Assassin creed 3 are grand in scale and the attention to detail is sublime. Ubisoft have mastered the craft of creating a lively world and are only second to Rockstar games.
At the start, the plot is a little convoluted. I kept asking myself who is this guy I am playing? Why I am I doing in America? Why am I killing this individual? Which side am I on, the British or the Americans? The trouble is that Assassin Creed 3 takes its time to explain itself. I mean a very long time. Things start to make sense around 4 hours into the campaign, when you consider that the games is approximately 13 hours long, thats a third of the game lost in an unclear plot.
Thankfully when you begin to play with the main protagonist, Connor, Assassin Creed 3 really starts to hit its stride. Connor is a Native American Assassin with the mission to protect the land of his people and liberate the Americans from tyranny. Although Connor does not have the same charisma and charm of Ezio, his dedication to the cause will eventually win over your heart. Unfortunate he does fall into the cliché of the naïve and arrogant hero.
Oddly enough the American Revolution plays second fiddle in Assassin Creed 3. Initially, I thought the revolution war would have a bigger role on the plot. As it turns out the War is there to provide context, the real drive to play on is to see whether the assassins defeat the Templars. Ubisoft had a fantastic setting but underused it, I call it like I see it, Ubisoft wasted Assassin Creed 3 potential. For instance, Connor is forced into a large scale battle between the Red Coats and Patriots. You would expect to join the battle, but instead you are told to run away from the battle and focus on killing the Templar. There is a huge battle underway, Im itching to kill a whole platoon, but told to run from the battle to kill some general. Infuriating right?
If you have played one Assassin Creed game then you have played them all. Number 3 will instantly feel familiar to returning fans. All the shenanigans of an assassins life return. You name it- climbing on buildings, stabbing folks in the back and of course jumping from the sky into haystacks. Humble is the life of an assassin.
The main story has a quite a bit of variety. It does a great job from preventing assassination in becoming a chore. One moment you will be commanding a platoon to defend a bridge the next you could be planning your escape from prison. Each sequence rarely feels the same. The game will have you on your toes from start to finish.
My favourite sequence is the assassination of Church. There is a touching moment when Connor and Haytham cooperate. Enemies helping each other who would have thought? This sequence is ended with a fantastic naval chase.
One of my primary issues with Assassins Creed 3 is the lack of freedom in assassination. Unfortunately Assassin Creed 3 foregoes freedom for scripted events a trend that is common in the game industry. The main targets are served on a plate for you. Literally, Ubisoft said here is your target in a large platter, whistle go kill him. What happened to the freedom in the first game? The exhilaration of planning the kill, the commiseration of a failed attempt and the satisfaction of a well-planned assassination where did that go? The brutality and satisfaction of a well-earned kill is sorely missed in Assassin Creed 3.
The best new addition to Assassin Creed is the naval battles. I was sceptical about Naval warfare in the trailer, it looked clunky. Thankfully I was wrong. Destroying ships is fun. There is no other way to describe it. The ship behaves the way it should. Difficult to control in high speeds and easy to manoeuvre when the sails are down. Skirmishes become intense when you need to destroy multiple frigates. Line your ship, and then fire away! The Naval battles can be a game on their own. Thats how good they are.
The most advertise new feature of Assassin Creed 3 is the ability to traverse the tree tops. Its not what you expect but climbing and jumping to tree feels a little artificial. The design of the tree and the makeup of the forest are contrived. It feels like a construct rather than a natural environment. However my biggest issue is that Assassin Creed 3 does not utilize this mechanic in any meaningful. I would have loved for an entire sequence that revolves around this mechanic. Imagine tracking your target on at the tree top then unexpectedly pounce on him from above. So many possibilities, so much wasted potential.
It took me approximately 13 hours to finish the main story. Done with the campaign? There is still a lot to do in America. There are numerous side-quests to complete and collectables to find. How much game time you get out of Assassin Creed 3, depends on how much time you are willing to invest.
In terms of Wii U only features the gamepad is used in standards ways. Firstly, like most of the Wii U launch titles the second screen acts as a hub for your mini map. However I love remote play. In fact I played most of the game on the gamepad screen alone. I found the picture to be a little crisper on the second screen.
Assassin Creed 3 does a lot of things right. Fantastic Story! Excellent set-pieces! Believable world! Its everything you want in a game. It is unfortunate there is a lot of potential wasted. It is more unfortunate that Assassin Creed 3 isnt a revolution for the series. Nevertheless Assassin Creed 3 is a great game worthy enough to hop into the animus one more time.
score: 8.2 out of 10
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Nintendo land Review
Nintendo Land is the perfect launch game to show off the great potential of the Wii U Gamepad. Unfortunately Nintendo Land is the sort of theme park that you will likely enjoy on your first visits but after repeated admissions the novelty wears off quickly.
Nintendo Land is divided into 12 attractions each uniquely themed with an iconic Nintendo franchise. These franchise range from the more recognize to the more obscure. Boasting a nice colourful palette and a whimsical art style which captures the essence of Nintendo Nintendo land is a very pleasant game to look at. It may not be the most technical game in the market, but the game is incredibly beautiful. You really must check the game in action, because it looks better than most video tend to suggest.
Luckily for us, Nintendo Land is an incredible fun game, with the condition that you have a couple of friends to play with. Nintendo Land truly shines with multiplayer. The team based and competitive based attractions are the pick of the litter.
My favourite is Metroid Blast. Metroid Blast plays like those all school 3rd person shooters on the Nintendo 64. Playing Metroid blast, I think of those days when I would play Jet Force Gemini, Starfox 64 and conkers bad fur day on multiplayer with a couple of friends. The nostalgia reminds that local multiplayer can be so much fun, I am particularly glad that Nintendo has not abandoned this. Metroid blast is divided into two modes, one objective base and the other a standard battle mode. The individual on the gamepad controls Samus gunship while the other players are using the Wii remote to control miis on the ground. Mission mode is fairly lengthy and includes two fantastic Ridley boss battles.
Sadly the attraction for my favourite Nintendo franchise doesnt really achieve the same level of fun as Metroid Blast. Zelda Battle quest is an on-rail mini game. The player on the gamepad wields a bow and arrow using the gyroscope functionality to aim. Players use the wii remote to swing their swords in the same fashion as you would in Skyward sword and Wii Sport resort. Yes this attraction is fun but the implementation of the gamepad is uninspired and far from impressive. I would have loved if this attraction played more like a Zelda title. Battle quest would of have greatly benefitted if players were given the freedom to explore, solve puzzles and battle enemies - as you would in a Zelda game. Unfortunately the end product is a shallow on-rails attraction that leaves nothing to the imagination.
Asymmetric gameplay and the gamepad really shine in the competitive attractions. The advantages of the gamepad become much more apparent and hopefully you will begin to understand the Wii U just as I did. The first attraction is Mario chase. The goal of Mario chase is simple it is pretty much a game of hide and seek. On the gamepad a top down view of the map is shown with the icons representing the players, you will know where all the pursuers are located, so its your job to evade them until the timer runs out. On the other side of the coin, the pursuers will be playing on the TV, trying desperately to hunt you down. Whether playing on the gamepad or playing on the screen, each offer advantages and disadvantages, so the attraction still remains competitive without being imbalance.
Perhaps the best attractions, Luigis ghost mansion is the most imaginative and inspired mini game I have played in years. Luigi ghost mansion is a game of cat and mouse, the player on the gamepad plays as a ghost, it is their mission to scare the other players 3 times. The additional players simply need to survive without being captured or reduce the health of the ghost to zero by shining light with their torch. Since the ghost is strictly played on the gamepad, the other players are unable to see the position of the ghost, until the light of thunder reveals their position. Luigi Ghost mansion is fun and tense, without a doubt it will be a winner with a couple of friends.
Unfortunately the solo attraction dont fair all that well. Yes they are fun but after a few tries the novelty really starts to wear off. Octopus dance, Donkey Kongs Crash Course and Captain Falcon are particularly bland and use the gamepad in uninteresting ways. My particular problem with most of the solo attraction is that they were unable to retain my attention for very long. They are fun for the first time you play, but you never have the strong urge to come back to them. To really enjoy Nintendo Land it is vital that you have friends to play along with, without anyone Nintendo Land becomes dull and shallow.
Nintendo Land is so dependent on local multiplayer, without anyone to play with, I doubt many players will regularly return to Nintendo Land. I see Nintendo land being the game you put into the Wii U during get togethers, after that it will be left on the shelf collecting dust.
There are some gems amongst these attractions. One being balloon trip breeze. In balloon trip you indirectly guide your Mii through a series of obstacle courses by touching the gamepad to create breezes. The secret to success is planning carefully by looking at the wider view of the TV screen. Although the use of the gamepad is rather average, balloon trip breeze is simplistic and challenging.
How does Nintendo Land utilize Miiverse? Well you can walk around the main plaza of Nintendo Land to see other Miis, approach a little closer you can read their posts. In addition after a session playing one of the attractions, you are able to express your feelings, experience or just doodle just for the fun of it. I found myself in more than one occasion, just walking around the main plaza just to read other players post. Reading other individuals post intrigues me.
Ultimately, Nintendo Land is an incredibly fun game, but like I said before to get most out of the game, it is best you have a couple of friends sitting around the TV. As a showcase of the Wii U gamepad capabilities, Nintendo Land succeeds with varying degrees.
Out of the entire Wii U launch line up, ZombiU showed the greatest potential. Announced at E3 2012, there was so much hype. Nintendo finally secured a mature 3rdParty Killer app, and so they said. Unfortunately, ZombiU is a game that could have been great with a little more time. The sad reality is that you get a game with so much potential but was rushed to meet the launch scheduled.
ZombiU is set in apocalyptic London, where infected Zombies now plague every street. What was the cause for the end of the world? Apparently, Astronomer John Dee prediction of the black plague causing the end of the world in 2012 was indeed true. As the last few people left alive in the world, it is your mission to survive. Guided by a man, referred to as the prepper, you will be sent to complete a series of missions.
The story in the game was a huge miss opportunity; the writers at Ubisoft could have developed an interesting backstory behind the apocalyptic world. You are given a few snippets of information from the prepper and newspaper article to what occurred in London. I just wished that Ubisoft fleshed the backstory even more. Instead you are given a plot based on fetchquests and a forgettablesub-storyabout a group called the Raven of Dees. Certainly, you can argue that the main focus is on survivable, but when you are not given a story of substance, should you really care about this apocalyptic world?
Like I said previously, ZombiU has players complete a series of missions, which usually involve fetching a certain item. This involves visiting a variety of locales from a grocery store to Buckingham palace itself. Aesthetically, ZOmbiU is a dark game which adds to the creepy atmosphere. Unfortunately most of the environments are quite boring and ugly. There are a few places that standout like Buckingham palace and the nursery. But graphically and artistically ZombiU doesnt push any boundaries.
Sadly, ZombiU isnt only just plagued with zombies but is also festering with glitches and bugs. During my first playthrough = I encountered more than several glitches and bugs. I got stuck in a locked room because somehow my survivor walked through the wall. There are funny glitches, like how my female survivor kept changing clothes from a policewoman to a business lady. There was that one time where I had no head, just floating eyes. It is easy to forgive a game if it has one or two bugs, but unfortunately ZombiU has just too many for me to tolerate.
The main highlight of ZombiU, is how the game implement the various features of the Wii U gamepad. Most noticeably the second screen is used for inventory management. Gone are the days where inventory management will appear on the TV screen, it will now all be done on the gamepad screen. ZombiU forces players to look at the second screen when looting and managing items. There is that element of insecurity and vulnerability when looking down, a zombie can attack all of sudden. It does add to the immersion there is never a time where you are truly safe and it is best to check that your surroundings are clear.
Gamepad also serves as a hub for your radar and acts as an environmental scanner to locate items. Lock picking, entering security codes, barricading doors and aiming with a long distant scope can all be done on the gamepad. None of these gamepad features feel forced nor do they feel gimmicky. I feel ZombiU, greatly benefits from the gamepad and is a poorer game without it.
One of the main draws of ZombiU is the difficulty. Certainly the game is challenging but not for the right reasons. In ZombiU you die easily. The infected do a serious amount of damage and even at near full health one grab often means instant death. The easy nature in which you die makes ZombiU an exceptionally challenging game. However certain elements of the game make the game more frustrating and unnecessarily challenging.
Firstly it is extremely frustrating, that your main weapon the cricket, is extremely weak against the infected. It can take over 7 -12 hits with the cricket bat before the infected goes down. The damage output of the cricket is inconsistent and just plain frustrating. It is unnecessary for that many hits to take down zombies giving more health to enemies or making them frustratingly difficult to take down isnt the only way to make a game challenging. It is unfortunate that Ubisoft couldnt balance the game out further.
Not everything in this game is bad. ZombiU is the truest survival horror game I have played in recent memory. Only games like Dead Space this generation have really been able to keep the genre alive. Elements that you typically would find in a survival horror game such as limited ammo and health, tight dark corridors and slow pacing are all present in ZombiU. Since you are so vulnerable, it is necessary to plan out your method of attack when facing enemies particularly a large horde. The great thing about ZombiU you can handle situations in many different ways; you are not limited to one method. Instead handling a particular horde with just guns blazing, why not use flares to draw them at one position then finish them with a Molotov or a grenade. The beauty about ZombiU your survival is dependent on how you handle situations, if you happen to die you can only blame yourself.
The most addicting part of ZombiU, is that the game challenges you to improve. When survivors die they are dead for good, no second chances or respawns. You will need to recollect your supplies and rebuild a high score again. The punishing nature of death in ZombiU, forces you to improve your game or face unwanted circumstances make the entire experience rewarding. ZombiU doesnt reward you much in terms of tangible object in the game; they are more intrinsic to the heart of the gamer.
For the more daring gamers, you can attempt survival. Essential you will play as one survivor once you die, it is game over. I finished the Survival Mode myself took 5 attempts, it isnt all that hard. Knowledge of the game innards is the best tip I can give you.
Following in the same footsteps as darksouls, players can leave messages for other players to read. In practice, warnings and hints should be written. Sadly, I didnt see the posts in my playthrough, the posts I did see were messages from the developer. You can even kill other players survivors and loot their supplies, just to make it easier if you are struggling.
ZombiUs multiplayer is an unlikely winner. The concept is unique the individual on the gamepad has the ability to spawn Zombies around the map while the other poor soul needs to survivor. There are two modes: capture the flag and survival mode. Spawning Zombies gives you an incredible feeling of power and fighting off hordes make you feel like a bad-ass. It is a fresh take on multiplayer; I just wish Ubisoft implemented online play.
Overall ZombiU is a good game, but it lacks polis. If you want to try something new and unique, then ZombiU is the game for you. However glaring bugs, boring story and frustrating combat make the game difficult to recommend as a must buy.
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New Super Mario Bros. U review
The New Super Mario Bros. series has received criticism for being conservative and unimaginative, this is exacerbated with the fact Mario is usually associated for being the opposite. A heavily reliance on nostalgia, same generic music or the over simplistic art style are the major contributors. Since New Super Mario Bros. U is the first game I have played from the series, so these will be less of a problem. But since this is my first time, I have high expectation that the fat Italian plumber will deliver an incredible game.
I find it quite ironic that story mode has very little story contain inside. Nintendo does not take the story in Mario games seriously, and you shouldnt too. Lets face the facts, we all know Princess Peach will be kidnapped again and it is up to Mario to save the damsel in distress. Its a classic setup and it wouldnt be a Mario game without it.
In regards to presentation and visuals, New Super Mario Bros. U plays it safe, but it plays it too safe. The art direction for the most part is bland. Stages look too blocky and lack a degree of uniqueness. I would rather have Nintendo abandon the retro art style and develop a modern look for the New series.
The game isnt terribly bad looking; on the contrary the game looks fantastic. Particularly the backgrounds are amazing. Nintendo cleverly layered the background, so it isnt just a bland picture following the action. My favourites include a course inspired by Van Goughs Starry night and traversing through the Meringue clouds is so exhilarating purely because of the eye candy. Sadly, I just wished Nintendo applied a little more effort to lift the visuals of the games.
Nintendo has developed an unhealthy habit of recycling music. I noticed this in Super Mario 3D Land and it is present in New Super Mario Bros. U. Around 5 -6 tracks are used throughout the 10 hour story mode, although fun and quirky the amusement quickly teeters. It comes off lazy when you considering Super Mario Galaxy boasts an incredible soundtrack.
Whether you like it or not, most aspects of a Mario games play second fiddle to the gameplay. New Super Mario Bros. U is no different. Fortunately the gameplay is where NSMBU exceeds well. Perhaps the most important aspect of the game is the immaculate level design. Each course is carefully designed to test the skills of the player, every jump has to be precise and every movement planned. Stages are varied, you never get the feeling of familiarity, nor do they ever play the same. The controls in the game are thankfully responsive, so if you happen to die you can only blame yourself.
There is a lot of content in the Story. From my count there are approximately 70 stages, which probably will take 10 -13 hours to complete. If you are a completionist, you can aim to collect all the star coins and explore to find secret stages and shortcuts. The more time you invest in New Super Mario Bros. U, the more you will get out of the game.
There are other tidbits that have been included to add a bit of variety. Firstly Powerups make a welcome return. The classics like Fire flower and the super star makes a return, however there are newly introduced power-ups. The Super Acorn and P-acorn make their debut; obtaining these items allows Mario to transform into a flying squirrel. My only gripes with the power-ups are that they are not very imaginative nor do they introduce any gameplay innovations. Baby Yoshis are also present in NSMBU. Baby Yoshis are admittedly more useful than the power-ups. My favourite of the bunch is the Pink Baby Yoshi. Shaking the wii remote, the tiny bub inflates like a balloon allowing you to float over obstacles.
You would expect Nintendos flagship title will lead the way in demonstrating the potential of the gamepad. Unfortunately New Super Mario Bros. U does not push any boundaries of the imagination. To say the least, the gamepad is used in interesting ways. In cooperative play, the individual on the gamepad can assist the players playing on the TV. This is achieved by tapping on the gamepad to create platforms. Certainly there are situations where the gamepad becomes useful, for example the gamepad can be used to create platforms to break the other players fall, difficult to reach places can be obtained be strategically placing platforms as steps. If it happens that the TV is occupied, players can play strictly on the gamepad screen, it is rather uninspired but nonetheless useful.
Personally I played the entire game with 2 players using the wii remote and another on the gamepad. The cooperative play in New Super Mario Bros. U is very chaotic, often I find myself dying repeatedly not because of bad skill but from lack coordination with my partners. Approximately around the halfway point of the story mode, the cooperative play became extremely fun. The player on the gamepad was effective with the platforms, my partner was working well and the entire experience was better with a couple of companions.
Besides the Story mode there are additional modes to retain players attention for a bit longer. Players can choose from challenge mode, boost rush mode and coin battle. The most interesting of the three is challenge mode. Challenge mode offers an incredible amount of objective of various degrees of difficulty. Sometimes you have to complete an obstacle in a set time limit, collect a set amount of coins, collect a certain number of 1-ups or special missions that have differing rules. There is an amazing amount objectives, and isnt a tacked on mode just to extend the life of the game. The other two modes are fun but nowhere near the same quality of challenge mode.
New Super Mario Bros. U is an excellent game. If you are looking for a superb platform or just a really fun game, you cannot go wrong with New Super Mario Bros. U. Despite a few shortcomings in the visuals and music, Mario proves once again that gameplay is truly king.
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