Five Best Video Game Controllers

-by Dylan DiBona

When you first open that new console up, there’s always that small but important moment when you hold the controller that’ll be accompanying you for dozens, maybe hundreds of hours of gameplay for the very first time. Is it comfortable? Heavy? Light? How are the buttons? A bad controller can sour a gaming experience, cramp your hands or even just make you annoyed. It may seem like an afterthought to some, but my fellow players who have spent hours on bad controllers know the difference. These five controllers have made my gaming experiences much better.

Note: I’m only discussing controllers that come with a console, nothing you have to buy separately.

5. Xbox One

I have somewhat sour memories when it comes to the Xbox 360 controller, part of the reason I hate going back to my 360 is the remote itself. I don’t like constantly needing batteries and having to tape the battery pack on so it won’t fall out. The Xbox One controller fixes those issues while giving the gamer some really great thumbstick grips and the greatest triggers I’ve ever felt.

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It didn’t change too much, but the things the Xbox One controller did revise like the clunky d-pad from last generation are all welcome updates.

 

4. GameCube

The GameCube controller is either something you love or hate. Other than the Z-button being in an somewhat odd place, all the other buttons are comfortably close to one another, hugging the A button.
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It’s an odd looking thing and the C-stick isn’t the best way to control a camera, but with games like Super Smash Brothers Melee or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, you couldn’t ask for a much better remote.

Most first party games on the GameCube make this weird controller feel perfectly natural.

3. Nintendo Entertainment System

Minimalism at it’s finest. I’d never actually held an NES controller in my hands until I picked up an NES Classic, and it felt perfectly naturally. Incredibly light weight, responsive buttons and a solid d-pad. Much like the GameCube, you couldn’t ask for a better remote when it came to the games on the system.

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Everything from Super Mario Bros, to Tetris, and even Ninja Gaiden make the controller feel absolutely perfect. I know we need more buttons and complexity for modern games, but I find it to be a genuine shame that there’s no room for a controller this simple today.

 

2. Wii U Gamepad

I think the initial disliking of the Wii U gamepad has passed, which is great because it’s an actually good controller. The d-pad is perfect, the face buttons are soft but responsive, and the triggers feel nice too. Despite the size, my hands don’t cramp up and the tablet itself is very lightweight. I’ve actually had those TV commercial moments where my dad wants to watch football but I’m playing Zelda, and with the tap of a button my game goes onto the tablet screen and my dad gets to watch his team lose. It’s handy and always impressive (maybe not so much with the Switch now).

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My only gripe with the controller is the placement of the ZL and ZR buttons, much like with the GameCube controller, Nintendo put these buttons close to the player than the triggers. So if you want to press ZR, you have to awkwardly move your pointer finger closer to yourself. Luckily not too many games ask use you press those buttons.

 

1. Dualshock 4

The total opposite situation of my Xbox 360 is currently going on with my PlayStation 4, part of the reason I love playing on it is the controller. Lightweight, responsive buttons, nice joysticks and great triggers make for an awesome remote. It’s the quintessential gaming controller.

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However, the touchpad, speaker and lightbar are incredibly underutilized and could probably save the consumer twenty dollars or more if they took them out. Other than that, I’ve found my soulmate in the gaming controller realm.


What controller is your favorite to game with? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply. As always, thanks for reading.

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Five Best Mario Games

-by Dylan DiBona

With E3 coming and the thoughts of a new Super Mario Odyssey trailer being released, my excitement for the plumbers series has skyrocketed once again. Like many people, Mario has brought me endless hours of clean fun and even though I wrote about him yesterday, I decided to honor the series once more with my definitive list of the “best” Mario games. One quick rule:

  1. No spin-offs. Mario is a platforming icon first and foremost, so only platformers allowed. (No Yoshi’s Island either, I love that game though.)

 

5. Super Mario Bros. 3

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It may seem like pure blasphemy, but I’ve never been quite as fond for Super Mario Bros. 3 as most other people. It’s an objectively good 2D platformer with tons of secrets, power-ups and fun to be had, but I always found the game to be just a tad too hard. Certain elements of level design and enemy placement/behavior make Super Mario Bros. 3 a bit of a retro headache every time I go back. It may not be number one but I can’t deny how much fun this game will always be.

4. Super Mario 3D World

Two criminally overlooked Mario games are Super Mario 3D Land and its sequel on the Wii U. 3D World mixes elements of 2D and 3D Mario, and for the first time ever in a 3D entry of the series, the main focus is multiplayer. Taking cues from Super Mario Bros. 2, players can control Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad or Rosalina who all have unique abilities.

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I’ll never forget certain levels or the silly yet simply brilliant Cat Suit. But most importantly, I’ll never forget the countless hours my good buddy and I sunk into getting 100% completion. Doing this without a guide gave us a chance to dig as deep as possible into every level and realize just how smart the design of the game is. Truly one of Wii U’s best.

 

3. Super Mario 64

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It’s a true challenge to transform the magic of Super Mario 64 into words. We’ve gotten the 3D Mario sequels, Banjo-Kazooie, Ratchet & Clank, and Yooka-Laylee- but none of them match of the feeling of Super Mario 64. You never really knew what was coming up on your journey, just that you needed to keep collecting stars.

This mysterious air of Super Mario 64 keeps players in love with it even until today; the popular rumor that Luigi is in the game sparked fan determination to find him. We’re still discovering new things like hard to reach coins in certain levels. It’s a game that feels like it’ll live on forever, and for that it doesn’t really feel retro to me, it feels immortal.

2. Super Mario Sunshine

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Okay honestly, I understand any flak I may get for this decision; but Super Mario Sunshine is a gem of a video game. I really cherish originality and this entry of the series really capitalized on that; the story doesn’t revolve around Peach, you’re not in the Mushroom Kingdom, there are no themes for the world except for tropical and you get a water powered jet-pack.

The people who hate this game don’t even give it credit for what it did for future games of the series. It started the whole “episodic” nature of stars, it introduced a playable 3D Yoshi and the Shadow Mario stages look strikingly similar to all of Super Mario Galaxy.

It may not be perfect with its dumb blue coins, glitchy pachinko level, terrible voice acting (which I love), but Sunshine is one of those games with visible flaws that I still really enjoyed. There’s nothing quite like it, and I have a feeling there never will be again.

1. Super Mario World

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It should be a genuine question to all who’ve played Super Mario World if video games get any better; it embodies the medium absolutely perfectly. The game can be beaten in an afternoon, but with a keen eye you can spend days trying to find every secret in Dinosaur Land. Your basic abilities are simple: run, jump and spin jump, but when you find that Wing Cape, Fire Flower or Yoshi you’ll try your hardest to hang onto them for as long as possible. Unlike Super Mario Bros. 3, you won’t get caught by absurdly tricky enemies, the difficulty is just right.

Unlike Sunshine I don’t see any flaws within World. I’ve beaten the game three times but explored its levels over and over, I know the tunes, I know the colors, I know the secrets; there may be no game I know better than Super Mario World. It’s an absolute classic and if you enjoy video games but never played Super Mario World, change that right now because it is video gaming at its peak.

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So there’s the five best Mario games in my eyes! Do you guys agree or disagree? Give me your top five down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading!

Five Best Pokémon Games

-by Dylan DiBona

Nothing screams “nostalgia” quite like Pokémon for me. When I first got an interesting green cartridge for my Game Boy Advanced, I was puzzled. I didn’t know what the series was, but the green plastic was “cool” to me as a kid. Over a decade later and I still have the desire to catch ’em all; these five Pokémon games stand on top of the series as not just good Pokémon games, but great RPGs.

 

5. Pokémon X & Y
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After going through the classic “Pokémon is for babies” route, I gave the series the cold shoulder for about two or three years. I fell utterly in love with the 3DS for its console quality games on the go, and sure enough- a Pokémon game came to the system.

Picking up Y was a little weird, I knew the ins and outs of the series- get the badges and fight the elite four. But this new entry had elements I was never familiar with and new monster designs I didn’t bother to check out in trailers. It was like I started over again; Pokémon Y was my reintroduction to the series and I’ll always be grateful. The (then) new three dimensional graphics for main series Pokémon blew my mind, and overall atmosphere of France complimented the game perfectly.

Definitely an underappreciated gem in the series.

 

4. Pokémon Sun & Moon

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I actually have a small sense of guilt when I think back onto these games. After being absolutely addicted to these new entries more so than any other 3DS game, I completely stopped at the fifty hour mark. Even though I never beat the Alola champion (I will someday), I must commend these games. When thinking of video games that spiced up their series, Sun and Moon should easily come to mind.

Gone are the days of badges, gym leaders and HMs. Hardcore Pokémon fans dropped their jaws when they found this out and for good reason, imagine if Zelda tried dropping dungeons (oh wait). The true icing on the cake was the new Alola region; the Hawaiian vibe felt like the newest idea Game Freak had for a region in years.

 

3. Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red

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The original Red and Blue on Game Boy will forever be the most important games in Pokémon history. I wanted to put them on the list but out of a mix of nostalgia and reality: I had to go the remake.

Who doesn’t want better graphics, music and more content?

Pokémon Leaf Green showed me what magic fictional worlds can hold, I wanted to be a trainer more than anything else. I beat the game probably two or three times and wouldn’t even choose a different team of monsters during my playthroughs, I just loved playing the game as is. I owe this game for a lot of reasons, mainly because I may not even be writing this if not for Pokémon Leaf Green.

 

2. Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver

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For the same reasons I put Leaf Green, who doesn’t want a remake of the universal favorite Pokémon game? People love Gold, Silver and Crystal for the new and still fresh Johto region, while still having the Kanto region as a second journey. Sixteen badges is the most in any game of the series and let’s be honest; who wants a good Pokémon game to ever end?

I don’t hold much nostalgia for Heart Gold or Soul Silver, but I appreciate what they do for the series immensely. There’s a good reason these are the most expensive Pokémon games to buy online.

 

1. Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

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Ok so quick story:

I lived about two hours from New York City and one day my family decided to go for a shopping day. One stop was the Nintendo Store and I remember being in awe at all of the merchandise and fun goodies. My dad was somehow aware of a brand new Pokémon and got it for me right there in the heart of NYC. I remember thinking it was just Leaf Green again because of the green cartridge, so I popped it into my GBA during the car ride home expecting a fourth playthrough of my favorite game. But that didn’t happen.

I was greeted with a pixelated drop of dew falling off a leaf and revealing the Game Freak logo, and then I realized an entirely new journey was waiting for me. After beating it, I started not to care about Emerald anymore. I thought Alpha Sapphire would be a fun little side game on the 3DS, but when I saw that drop of dew remade in 3D and that same catchy tune redone- pure goosebumps.

It was then I finally remembered how much I loved Emerald, the monster designs started to get into the series’ modern day cheesiness, but they still had plenty of freshness. The world was more fleshed out than any other entry at the time, diving underwater is still unique for the series. In the remake you can fly on Latias or Latios, the story was better, and Mega Evolutions came back for older Pokémon. It was the absolutely perfect adventure in the magical world I remembered as a kid.

Nostalgia aside, I genuinely believe Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to be one of the greatest entries in the series. I understand why fans may choose the 2nd gen games over this one, but man do I love Hoenn.

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Any serious Pokémon fans here? What’s your top five favorite games? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.

 

Five Video Game Sequels We’ve Waited Far Too Long For

-by Dylan DiBona

If you’ve really enjoyed a game and it performed well monetarily; there’s no better feeling than when you hear that game is getting a sequel. With more money and time it’s should seem like sure thing that a sequel can improve on the original.

On the flip side, waiting for a sequel for too long can tarnish all sense of anticipation and hype. Final Fantasy XV didn’t blow anybody away, neither did The Last Guardian. It can be seen as quite troublesome or just plain annoying is development on a game takes far too long. Some sequels have taken so long to be released I cannot possibly justify excitement.

 

Beyond Good and Evil 2

It’s hard for me to believe that back in 8th grade days that Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil was my favorite game ever made. That’s not a way of me critiquing the game, it’s fantastic. I haven’t replayed it since but I still remember certain tunes, moments and characters. Beyond Good and Evil is like a Zelda game without the Zelda; it’s a genuinely special adventure and due to it’s cult classic status, it feels personal.

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With the first game ending on a cliffhanger and only two teaser trailers, fans like me have been left in the dust for the past few years at E3. I’m not expecting it at all this year, but please Ubisoft just cancel the game or release it; my heart can’t take it anymore.

Kingdom Hearts 3

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Perhaps the grossest offender of a sequel taking too long is Kingdom Hearts 3. I’ve been waiting for this game since I was about nine years old and in July I turn twenty.  There’s no justifying Square Enix’s treatment of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. With an obnoxious amount of spin-off games and an inexplicable plot; the series has long since fallen from grace. I won’t lie, my friend and I jumped and screamed with excitement when we got that trailer at E3 a few years back. The older I get the more I understand how unacceptable the development cycle for Kingdom Hearts 3 has been. With the aforementioned Final Fantasy XV coming from the same company, we’re probably in store for an okay game.

Half-Life 3

Memes aside, does Half-Life 3 even exist? I’m not a gigantic fan of the series, only dipping my toes into the first and second entry for a little bit, but Half-Life seemed special. In the first game I enjoyed the almost nonexistent loading times and tutorials. The game felt kind of “real” in a sense. The players logic translated into gameplay and it was infinitely rewarding.

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It’s a shame that Valve doesn’t really make video games anymore. With the gargantuan success of Steam it’s easy to see why though. Half-Life 3 may not even come out someday, but if it does millions of fans around the world will laugh with joy.

The World Ends With You 2

The World Ends With You has transformed from an underrated gem on the DS to one of it’s most beloved games, and it deserves it greatly. There was nothing quite like the original game, sliding the stylus on the touch screen felt more action packed than ever. With a great plot and intriguing characters The World Ends With You succeeded in it’s trials to be a great game. So where’s the sequel?

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We’ve gotten Neku and his friends in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, and even a cliffhanger on the iOS edition of the game. Once again it seems like Square Enix dropped the ball with a sequel everybody desires. Go ahead Square, make another few Kingdom Hearts spin-offs. With the Nintendo Switch being recently released, there’s no better system to have a sequel to Square Enix’s golden DS game

The Next 2D Metroid

This one may be a bit selfish since I vastly prefer 2D Metroid over 3D, but we need another 2D Metroid badly. 2002’s Metroid Fusion is actually the most recent in the series’ timeline, with Prime being prequels. For the few that care about the story (like me), we want more desperately; and the same goes for the many who miss the gameplay.

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Many games have tried to replicate the glory of old-school Metroid like Axiom Verge but they don’t quite hit the same spot. We wen’t through the sludge of Federation Force and even a statement from Nintendo saying that they’re working on both styles of Metroid. Hopefully this E3 will be promising.

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So guys any sequels you’ve been waiting forever for? Let me know down  below and I’ll try to reply! As always, thanks for reading!

Five Common Things I Hate in JRPG’s

-by Dylan DiBona

The JRPG genre has always one I’ve had an affinity for, but was never well versed in. I’m trying to change that, but there are always some common roadblocks that stop me from having a truly great time. These five gameplay aspects almost always detract my joy from Japanese role-playing games.

 

5. Main Character Death = Game Over

Image result for persona 4Granted I haven’t played too many JRPG’s with this idea implemented, and the main one I have in mind I love. One of my biggest complaints I had with Persona 4 was getting a Game Over because my main character died.

Even if I had three other party members willing to fight, the game was over if I died. It’s annoying for a game that emphasizes friends and connection, that your friends can’t fight for you when you’re down.

I don’t know if this aspect made it’s way into Persona 5, but I really hope not. And for the other series it’s in: stop.

 

 

4. Two Bosses in a Row with No Time to Save

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Unless the player is properly warned, how is this even remotely fair? For many JRPGS I’ve played, they set up a formula of doing “this, that, boss” but sometimes they like to spontaneously change things by making the pattern “this, that, boss, boss”.

More than a handful of times I was caught off guard by a surprise second boss. With no time to save in between and not having enough items, if you die you have to do both bosses over; which is just not fair. If a video game offers a challenge to it’s player, it should at least be fair.

 

 

3. Difficulty Jumping

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The two boss nonsense can be triumphed over by a simple death and going to the store and buying extra gear; but when a game overall jumps in difficulty, it can be unbelievably discouraging.

When I tried more than a handful of Final Fantasy games, I’d get into a new area and all the enemies could now destroy me in a few hits. Even though I successfully beat the previous area and boss, that proves useless in a new area. I understand grinding is necessary in some JRPGS, but when a game makes even grinding a challenge with high leveled enemies, there’s a problem.

Even worse is when in a dungeon in a JRPG has mid level enemies but a high level boss. Difficulty and pacing are linked very tightly in this genre.

 

2. Bad Endings

Image result for tales of symphonia dawn of the new worldWhy is this even a thing?

So let me get this straight: in a genre in which it’s games are typically over twenty hours (and that’s being modest), developers think it’s fair to reward players with upsetting endings?

I understand that the power of choice is becoming more popular in gaming, but it’s not like Fable where you specifically have to act like a jerk to become evil.

Sometimes all it can take are a few missed conversations with comrades or secret items to be found and you’ll get a heartbreaking end.

My poor eleven year old self still remembers pumping in hours in Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World, just to have the main character kill himself. I don’t mind normal endings and better endings, but straight up bad endings? No.

 

1. No Sense of Direction

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This is something that might plague newcomers mostly. Part of the reason I don’t love Chrono Trigger as much as I should is a general lack of direction. Sure there’s the old man who can tell you what place looks “suspicious”, but I need a bit more than that.

I don’t want the game to scream it out for me, but I feel like with the classics from the PS1 era and before, they just said “go explore and find what’s next”, and I’m not crazy about that, especially when the worlds hit me with random encounters every five to ten seconds. When a world is large and filled with random encounters, it can make that necessary exploring pure gameplay hell. A good plot has a good sense of direction.

Maybe I’m just too impatient, or maybe JRPG’s are an acquired taste. It feels great when you get into them, but whenever theses aspects pop up in my games, I get discouraged. As part of an effort to get into JRPG’s more, I’m going to persevere through these trials.

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Any JRPG fans want to dispute something with me? Do you think these ideas are actually good for a game? Let me know down below and I’ll try to reply! As always, thanks for reading.

Four 3DS Games Still Worth Excitement in 2017

-by Dylan DiBona

The Nintendo 3DS is my favorite handheld of all time. It may still keep the quirky dual-screen idea from it’s predecessor and have a useless stereoscopic 3D ability, but the games on the system proved to be fun and worth my time constantly. We had games of console quality hitting the 3DS constantly. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon looked better and has more to offer than it’s older brother on the Gamecube. The Kirby games looked and played like Return to Dreamland on Wii- heck we even got a Wii game ported to the 3DS with Xenoblade Chronicles. It may seem impossible because of the Nintendo Switch, but the 3DS still has some games worth being excited about.

Now I could throw together a much longer list, but I’m only putting the games I’m genuinely interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m curious to see how Lady Layton and Professor Pikachu fare with fans, maybe I’ll even get them one day. But these are four games that actually hold my intrigue and I’m listing them in the order I want them from least to greatest.

 

 

Ever Oasis

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Action-Adventure/RPG

Okay I’ll be honest, when I first saw this game at E3 I didn’t really care. But as a self declared 3DS adorer, I have to give this game attention for a couple reasons. For one, it’s most likely the last new IP worth noting on the 3DS. Not only that but it’s being developed by Grezzo, the team that remade Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. It’s quite possible that while remaking those games Grezzo picked up on what makes a good action-adventure game; hopefully some elements from those classics make their way into Ever Oasis.

 

Dragon Quest XI

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We know by now that the Dragon Quest games are staple JRPGS. They’ve done the DS and 3DS justice with many enhanced remakes and spin-offs. What’s interesting about the 3DS version of Dragon Quest XI is the two different art styles.

While on consoles DQXI will look very clean and beautiful with a the usual slight cartoonish approach, on 3DS players will have a choice between the chibi style you see on top, or the classic 16 bit style you see below.

Not only do these two graphical styles add replay value, they make the 3DS version just a little bit more special.

 

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

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JRPG

My DS experience started early and sadly ended early. I never got to experience the acclaimed JRPG Radiant Historia. The game originally released a month before the 3DS, dooming it’s sales. It’s now getting a second life and from the looks of the trailer, the enhancements look worth my excitement.

The Perfect Chronology version of the game comes with enhanced visuals, a new character, a new game mode and the ability to change difficulty whenever. I’m sure there’s a little more yet to be announced. If you’re like me and never played Radiant Historia, it’s often called on of the best JRPGS of the past decade, sometimes ever made.

 

Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia

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Tactical JRPG

Okay, so the 3DS game I’m most excited for is a remake, so what? North America never saw the original Fire Emblem Gaiden, so this is a whole new game for us. Usually Pokemon is the system seller in Nintendo’s handheld history, but Fire Emblem dominated the 3DS and we’re getting one last entry. I’ve loved the tactical combat and the relationship building of Fire Emblem ever since I first played Awakening. I’ve never felt so close to characters in JRPGs.

Not only does Shadows of Valentia bring us more Fire Emblem, it changes the formula by staying local to the black sheep, Gaiden. There will be third-person dungeon crawling and map exploration. And for the first time ever for Fire Emblem on 3DS, the game will have full voice acting and anime cutscenes. Needless to say, this is one of my most anticipated games of the year.

It may be mostly RPGS, but hey the 3DS is still kicking. It’s sad to see one of my all time favorite systems die quietly, but I’m glad to still have games worth being excited over.

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So guys, any 3DS games you’re excited for in 2017? Is PS Vita better? What are some of your best 3DS memories? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to reply!

Top 5 Wii U Games!

If you’ve missed my nostalgic farewell to the Wii U, check out my last post here. The Wii meant a lot to me because it’s what really got me into Nintendo. I had a 3DS, but the Wii U was the first console I had from the company; with it’s backwards compatability and Virtual Console, there really is no better system to get if you want to get into Nintendo. What five games made a Wii U so worth it to me?! Let’s see…

Sorry Wind Waker and Twilight Princess you amazing games, no remakes on this list!

5. Splatoon
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It’s not always that Nintendo invited a cast of new characters and aesthetics to join to likes of Mario and Link. Quite possibly Nintendo’s biggest and most innovative move on the Wii U was: Splatoon.

It’s really cool to see how the family friendly company tries to tackle to big genres known for the ‘tough-guys’. Shooters, shooters, shooters, that’s all we see today honestly. Luckily for us Nintendo decided to spice it up with colors, and lot’s of them!

I love Splatoon because it was the pinnacle Wii U experience. If you didn’t have this game for Wii U, you missed out on some fun times! I met some great people online and we played Splatoon together for hours. And even with no voice chat or even playing solo, Splatoon was fun. The quick three minute matches made it feel like no time was being wasted and victory was always on the line. While everyone else in the gaming world was playing Call of Duty, it felt like a special couple of million were playing Splatoon, and that was nice. Needless to say, I’m excited for Splatoon 2.

4. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

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I’m sorry my fellow game-lovers but I don’t like the original SNES Donkey Kong Country games! They feel heavy and slow, and kinda BS at times. Tropical Freeze however, I dig this game a lot. First off- it’s gorgeous. The 2D perspective does nothing to lessen the graphical spectacle that is Tropcial Freeze. The conflicting environments of tropical islands, viking ships and ice make for some unique sights.

Speaking of uniqueness, the levels feel new and unlike the current 2D Mario games, the levels in Tropical Freeze felt original. Sure there were the returning ideas like the mine cart, whatever- everything in Tropical Freeze was simply fun. It wasn’t a game that handed you everything, it was still tough but it always gave you just enough to make it feel like the next level was possible.

I didn’t really appreciate this game until my second time giving it a chance, and I’m so glad I did.

AND THAT MUSIC.

3. Super Mario 3D World

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If you’re looking for a Super Mario 64-esque game on the Wii U- sorry!

Despite it’s title, 3D world is more of a hybrid of 2D and 3D platformers.

 

Some people may be disappointed that Nintendo didn’t go for another Galaxy or whatever, but mind you, the Wii U/3DS period was a weird time for them. They really combined old series’ with new and exciting ideas to try and bring people in.

Man oh man did this game give me and my friends hours upon hours of fun! Collecting all the green stars, the time trials- God there’s so many collectibles. Then there’s the hidden worlds and levels. Once again the music and presentation is on top.Each of the five playable characters have their own unique perks which makes for fun moments like:

“Wait! I’m Peach, I’ll float over and get the green star, stay here and take down the Koopas!”

If you get even one friend to play with you- do it. Super Mario 3D World has given me some of the best couch co-op memories I’ve ever had.

2. Super Smash Bros for Wii U

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I wasn’t quite sure if I should put Smash up this high. While I love this game so much, it doesn’t do much for me alone. Instead, Super Smash Bros is a social game.

Over 300 hours I’ve spent in settling it in Smash. Remember what I said about 3D World giving me tons of couch multiplayer memories? Double that and you got Smash! This is the game to own for a Wii U. People joke about their Xbox Ones and PS4s becoming Netflix machines, well for a while my Wii U was a Smash machine.

Trying out all the new characters was a blast, and the new physics felt perfect. Without a doubt this new iteration of Smash is my favorite. So many sleepovers, so many battles, so many laughs. Smash Bros is quite unlike any other fighting game, it’s special.

Honorable Mentions:

Pikmin 3 – A super fun, quirky and beautiful adventure game. I loved the puzzles, survival elements and collectibles. Really fun with a friend!

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker – Probably the most clever Wii U game and the one to take the most advantage of the gamepad, I need to go back and finish it; the presentation was adorable!

Mario Kart 8 – For most people this would be high up on a Top 5 Wii U games list, maybe even number one. Only reason it didn’t make it for me is I’ve played Mario Kart a bunch before and the anti-gravity while really cool, didn’t make it feel new enough to be on here. My favorite Mario Kart!

Wind Waker and Twilight Princess HD – IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED THESE GAMES, PLAY THEM. SERIOUSLY.

 

 

And now…..

The Swan Song…….

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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I’ll keep it brief since I plan to do a review or something for this game soon. Breath of the Wild has given me a lot of conflicting thoughts about game design. There are so many good things in this game; the feeling of wonder and excitement, a sense of improvement and discovery. At times it really feels like Nintendo achieved their goal in recapturing the original NES Zelda spirit.

Playing on the Wii U, it runs perfectly fine. There are frame rate drops with large swarms of enemies or big towns of people, but overall it performs well. This pushes the system to it’s very limits and truly felt like the next gen system people wanted from the Wii U.

I mean- who would’ve thought we’d have a game over four times the size of freaking Skyrim on the Wii U?! And Bethesda says it wouldn’t have worked on Wii U….

It’s not a perfect game don’t get me wrong, but Breath of the Wild perfectly summed up the Wii U/3DS era for Nintendo: experimentation. It’s the quintessential single-player experience on the system and even though I haven’t seen the credit roll, I’m confident in these words.

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As always, thank you for reading my friends. Let me know what your favorite Wii U game is! Happy Sunday!

 

The Games I’m Most Excited For Per System: 2017

I could easily do a long list on games I’m excited for this year but instead I decided to keep it simple and concise by instead focusing on the specific systems I’ll be playing on; Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and 3DS. It seems like each of these systems will be blessed with some great titles in 2017

Playstation 4:

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Persona 5 – April 4th 

The wait for Persona 5 is draining me day by day. Even though I never beat 4, (I’ll get back to it! I’m underleveled…) I fell in love with the game deeply for immersing me into it’s story and characters. Going to school, making friends, dating and living a teenage life doesn’t sound fun but combining it with Persona’s overall style makes it for a truly engrossing experience. On the flip side there’s epic battles and usually a thematic story which will keep you even more entertained. Long story short, Persona is worth being excited over.

Nintendo Switch:

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – March 3rd

Come on, was there any ever question? Just look at that picture! This is Nintendo’s first real shot at an open world game and it seems like they’re putting their own spins on it. The Legend of Zelda is my favorite franchise of all time so you can imagine my excitement. I’ve tried staying in the dark about it’s story, world and mechanics so hopefully the first time I pick up those Joy-Cons I’ll feel like a kid again. Oh Zelda, how much I adore you.

Nintendo 3DS:

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia – May 19

Just like with Persona, Fire Emblem is basically half RPG and half Life Sim. The 3DS’ Fire Emblems had me glued to the tiny system for literal days. If I wasn’t battling it out, I was chatting with my comrades, romantic interests and even children! It’s so awesome to get married and fight along with friends and spouses. The Perma-Death mechanic makes it feel all the more real and heartpounding. Fire Emblem is one of my favorite franchises of all time so I’m glad my prayers were answered for one last entry on the 3DS, even if it is a remake of a Japanese exclusive title. I can’t wait to be addicted all over again.

 

Now that I look at it, all these games come out fairly soon; I might have to make a sequel to this list in the second half of the year.

Thank you so much for reading! What is the one game you can’t wait for on each of your systems?

Top 5 Hopes for Tonight’s Nintendo Switch Direct!

-by Dylan D

Despite what I said in my Axiom Verge review, I love Nintendo and they’re probably still up there as my all time favorite video game developers. Although I’m a little skeptical of Switch and truly think it’ll make or break Nintendo, I’m excited.

I’m still on the fence on if I’ll pick up a Switch at launch, so here are five things that would persuade me to pick up a Switch on Day One.

5. Switch/Zelda Release Date:

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Guys, Zelda has and always will be my favorite franchise of all time. I can’t wait anymore for Breath of the Wild! Every time I look at pictures like the one above I foam at the mouth. I’m not sure how I feel about all the clothes and breakable weapons, but asides from that it seems like Nintendo is crafting a real open world. By that I mean, chopping down trees, sailing, paragliding- it’s all your’s to do. It feels oraganic. Now I’m not quite sure if I’d get it on the Switch or the Wii U (leaning towards Wii U), but you know what would help me decide?

A release date for Breath of the Wild and the Switch needs to be announced tonight.I’m hearing March 2017 and that sounds like a dream come true, but it’s Nintendo and lately they’ve been teaching me not to dream when it comes to them.

 

4. Better Online

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Even though I appreciate not paying for it, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Nintendo. Either ditch the basic Mii’s or give us a new form of virtual identity. Make it easier for us to find each other. Basically, just give me an easy and open format like the PS4 has and I’m happy.

This is the online age, do I really have to say it? Enough with the ancient friend codes and whatnot. A huge audience would be attracted to the Switch if they could easily play with friends, even more if Nintendo added their equivalent to trophies and achievements.

 

3. More Third-Party Support

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Finally Nintendo has a lot of support from third-party developers, much like the old days. But I still feel like they need a little bit more, specifically Rockstar. Come on, who doesn’t want a portable Red Dead Redemption 2? Even though I’m sure it’s impossible to run on the hardware, I’m excited and slightly hopeful.

 

2. Metroid/Long Awaited Sequel

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Again, if you haven’t seen my previous post on Axiom Verge, check it out because I discuss my love for Metroid, specifically the 2D games. But hey- if a new 3D Metroid is announced then I’m all for it; it might even give me a chance to give Prime it’s billionth chance with me.

But I’m not just limited this to Metroid, any long awaited sequel people have been waiting for from Nintendo. Whether it be another F-Zero, Super Mario RPG 2, anything dream-worthy that seems unlikely to be announced; imagine it’s going to be announced tonight.

 

1. Good Price

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If Nintendo makes the same blunder they did with the 3DS and Wii U, they won’t make a cent. This console needs to repeat what the original Wii did, appeal to hardcore fans and the casual fans while being easy to buy thanks to a small price. If the Switch starts at $249 my chances of buying one immediately skyrocket. If it’s $299 then I’m fifty-fifty. It’s it’s $399, well sorry Switch but I’m getting the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild.

This one is not only huge for me personally, but for Nintendo who I really want to succeed with this new system.

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Either way guys, thanks for reading and what do you hope to see be announced tonight? I hope you’re all excited!

Top 5 Video Games of 2016 (Update at the Bottom!)

-by Dylan D

I remember being in 8th grade with not a worry in the world. It was 2011 and everyday during recess me and my friends would discuss what games we’d play on Xbox Live that night (perhaps we should’ve been playing tag or something). To me 2011 was the best year in gaming, but 2016 is the closest year I’ve come to hitting that same mark. There’s no question that I’ve could’ve added more games to this list, ones I didn’t even play but was endlessly captivated through let’s plays; but I didn’t think it was fair to add a game I didn’t personally experience. I also won’t be added games I didn’t see all the way through (sorry Final Fantasy XV. These five games took away chunks of my life this year, and I don’t regret it one single bit.

5. Pokémon Sun and Moon:

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There’s no other video game franchise I’m nostalgic for more than Pokémon. I have countless memories battling gym leaders, exploring worlds and always failing at catching them all.

Sun and Moon did a great job at not only celebrating the series’ 20th anniversary, but also at spicing things up by getting rid of gym leaders, adding variants to certain Kanto Pokémon and giving us an Hawaiian theme, which feels totally unique for the series. I certainly wouldn’t say the games are perfect, but they got me addicted once again. I love the trials replacing gyms, I love the lack of HM’s, I love the Alolan forms and most importantly I love Alola. This duo may be the swan song for the 3DS, and it’s certainly a good one.

4. Stardew Valley

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I was never that big into the Harvest Moon series; and maybe it’s all the crappy ones they make for 3DS or the endless farm games for mobile, but I lost all faith in this type of game.

But anytime an indie game gets a lot of hype I decide to check it out and man did Stardew Valley captivate me. It’s not entirely unique since the developer has stated obvious inspirations from Harvest Moon, but Stardew Valley takes certain concepts and makes them it’s own.

Running around and trying to become rich while starting from nothing is an exciting and also motivating goal. I had fun chopping down crops and selling them, or going into the mines and seeing what treasures await me. On the flip side, socializing with the villagers and learning more about them was quite interesting. I swear, it feels like I’ve met these types of people in real life.

I’m not the type of guy to sink two or three hundred hours into my favorite games, my usual is twenty unless I replay it. Stardew Valley kept me interested for almost fifty hours, which is impressive considering it’s main concept.

3. Uncharted 4

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Can you hear that incredible theme music yet?!

Seriously there’s just nothing like sitting back with an Uncharted game; they’re so simple and yet so fun. Naughty Dog obviously can make complex games a la The Last of Us but with Uncharted they keep it easy: shoot and puzzles. Somehow with that simplicity they’ve created some of the best characters I’ve come across during my virtual travels.Elena, Victor Goddamn Sullivan and Chloe all make great supporting characters.

Uncharted 4 takes all the things I loved about the series and added more great tools and optional mechanics like stealth, lassos and a special rock climbing tool.

I won’t say too much more because the story is like the biggest focus here, but damn if Uncharted 4 almost didn’t make me cry. I love it and Naughty Dog showed the world how an ending is done.4 and 2 fight for my favorite spot of  the Uncharted games. If you haven’t played any of them you seriously should, they’re so easy to pick up and play now on PS4. I hope to see Nate Drake once more…

2. Overwatch

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I like games that take risks, and in such a stale genre like the FPS, Overwatch took a risk. Gone are the days of gray repetitive shooters. Blizzard has created the newest huge franchise to take off with fans. Even though my days as an Overwatch member are over (refuse to pay for PS Plus anymore), I had so much fun sinking over thirty hours into the online just blasting away friends and trying to secure the damn checkpoints.

I definitely wish the sweet Loot Boxes weren’t such a paywall but other than that I can’t think of much to dislike in Overwatch. It’s exciting and it’s different. It’s cool to play an FPS where the main point isn’t just killing one another but to actually work as a team.

I hope Overwatch keeps growing with DLC throughout the next few years because it’s a great time to be had.

1. The Witness

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You may not like him or this game but Jonathon Blow’s The Witness is revolutionary in game design. Gone are the stupid text tutorials that flood your screen, or the baby hand holding. The Witness just drops you in the middle of this mysterious world which is literally one giant puzzle.

It’s up to you with no help at all to figure everything out. I think what I enjoyed the most about The Witness was the genuine sense of growth and learning I gained with absolutely no help, everything I learned and everything I did was a product of my own thoughts (except like the twenty puzzles I looked up…)

When you’re solving that last puzzle before the credits it’s amazing to think back on the very first puzzle you did and to see how far you’ve come.

If you’re a story buff, well then The Witness may be one of two things to you: boring or endlessly fascinating. It’s a minimalist tale with many areas open to interpretation, I love that.

You seriously can’t go wrong with Jon Blow’s mind-bending adventure game.

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Well guys, that’s it for my top five games of 2016! Sorry it’s been so long you’ve heard from me. I’ve decided since it’s just me running the site (sometimes my friend Vinny posts articles here), that I’m going to be posting more quality blogs over quantity. Expect a post every Sunday about either current games, movies and media. Thanks so much for reading and here’s to a great 2017!