Review – Doom

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Playing Doom on the Nintendo Switch is kind of a surreal experience. This is the full Doom experience here, and while some concessions have been made in the visuals, it still walks the proverbial demon-slaying walk. It’s easy to see the parallels to 1995, when the original Doom was ported to the SNES, with its own hits to visual quality, frame rate and resolution. And while today it is not the most ideal way to play Doom, it was an impossible port that brought the game to a wider audience.

Of course, things aren’t as dramatic for this port of last year’s Doom reboot. That said, there’s still an undeniable magic in playing a game like this on a portable system. This is a polished modern AAA experience, in the palm of your hands. This is really what the Nintendo Switch was made for, and it’s an important port that shows what this system is capable of.

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Rest In Peace, Miiverse

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Nintendo’s Wii U console had a lot of problems. The controller was never used to its full potential in any games, the UI was rather bloated and slow, and the software library was sorely lacking. But Miiverse wasn’t one of those problems. In fact, Miiverse was its best feature, a platform that allowed communities to blossom around the Wii U’s various games. Seeing that community of Miis run around in the console’s home screen always gave you something to look forward to when booting up the console, and it was clearly an experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.

Last night, Nintendo pulled the plug on the service. I was really sad when Nintendo indicated that it wouldn’t be returning on the Switch, but it wasn’t surprising. Online communities can be a fleeting thing, more so when they are linked to a failing video game console. I’m still holding on to hope that Nintendo may do something similar in the future with their upcoming Switch online service, but it’s doubtful.

For now, let’s remember that Miiverse was more than just the platform, it was the people. Like the best Nintendo games, Miiverse was filled with really weird people, and that’s what made it so fun. Those people, the core of Nintendo fans, aren’t going anywhere. Splatoon 2‘s array of weird political and furry posts prove that a bizarre Miiverse-like experience is still possible, and can be even more irreverent than it ever was in the old days of the Wii U.

RIP Miiverse – 2012-2017

Review – Arms

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Arms is a game that has taken me for a roller coaster ride this year. I was a little skeptical upon its initial reveal, but as subsequent information about the game came out, I got a little more excited. However, that excitement was quickly deflated after getting to play the game over the summer, and it got quickly demoted from a must-buy to a rental for me.

Now that I got to spend some time with the final product, I can’t say I regret my decision. Arms has its fair share of problems, which causes the game to float somewhere between really fun and very frustrating. Through all of this, though, Arms still manages to be a breath of fresh air coming from Nintendo. At its best, it’s a superbly designed online experience that requires complex, on the spot thinking. It takes some risks, some of which don’t pay off, but it has many good ideas that I hope are not abandoned here.

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Review – Super Mario Odyssey

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Partway through Super Mario Odyssey, in the New Donk City level, there is a moment that pretty elegantly sums up the entire soul of this game. Mario helps Pauline to put together a festival for the citizens of the city. It all culminates with a jubilant scene that serves as one of this game’s highlights. That’s what Oddysey is–it’s a celebration of Mario‘s long 30-year history. The whole thing from front to back radiates joy, tugging endlessly at your nostalgia while simultaneously being like no other Mario game before it.

This is your spoiler warning: This review will speak about the game’s structure. I will be mentioning things such as the amount and size of the levels, what you do in them, and the amount of moons in the game. However, there are tons of surprises in this game that I don’t want to ruin for anyone who hasn’t played it yet, so I will avoid stuff that I think should be a surprise. 

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Review – Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions

I have really fond memories of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the first game in the Mario RPG side-series of games. It was a spiritual successor to the previous Mario RPG titles, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Paper Mario. What set this game apart from the previous titles was the wacky dialogue and gag-filled humor,  elements which made it quite the refreshing take on the turn-based JRPG genre.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions on the 3DS is a remaster that feels a little strange to me. While it looks beautiful–easily on par with its contemporary iterations Dream Team and Paper Jam–the gameplay feels exactly like it did back in 2003. As a JRPG, Superstar Saga on the 3DS can be refreshing in its simplicity, while simultaneously feeling quite a bit dated in some respects.

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Ranked: Super Mario Games

Previously on Ranked: The Legend of Zelda

With the release of Super Mario Odyssey right around the corner, it’s time to take a look back at the Super Mario Bros. series in this mushroomy edition of Ranked. Now, I have to set some ground rules before I begin. Since there are so many Mario games, I have included a couple of limits on what games make it to this list:

  • Only mainline Mario games are included here. No sports, racing, party, RPG or other spin-off titles.
  • No Yoshi or Wario games. Sadly, that includes Yoshi’s Island on the SNES.
  • Super Mario Maker is kind of its own beast as well, so that won’t be on here, even though I LOVE that game.

Finally, remember that this is just my opinion as a long-time Nintendo fan. Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Review – Metroid: Samus Returns

There was a level in Metroid: Samus Returns where you constantly have to wade around in water, which limits your jumps and slows you down. It was really annoying, and removed the mobility that really defines this Metroid game. Then, partway through, I find the Gravity Suit upgrade, which lets you move around in water unhindered. Now, I felt powerful. The rooms that were giving me trouble previously were now a piece of cake. This is the positive feedback loop that is the mark of a great Metroid title.

Samus Returns,–a remake/reimagining of the second game in the series, Metroid II: Return of Samus–is a monster of a game. It’s been more than a decade since the release of the last side-scrolling Metroid, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I got my hands on this game. I’ll admit that when it was first announced, I was a little bummed that this game was coming to the 3DS and not the Switch, but if I have to pull out my 3DS again, at least it’s for a damn good game.

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