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Top 15 Best Games of 2017

Top 15 Best Games of 2017

If you thought that 2016 was good in terms of gaming, 2017 simply tells you to hold my beer. 2017 in gaming has had some ups and downs, especially downs in the terms of behind the scenes. But regardless, this year alone has been home to a number of great games. Nintendo’s arrival of the Switch bringing the company back to providence and the PS4 bringing in games that only show why it’s the console of choice. I sadly can’t say the same for Microsoft since well this year has been a disappointing year with games either being delayed or cancelled for one reason or another. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about right?

2017 game-wise was an awesome year and this list culminates the very best that gaming has to offer. This here is my Top 15 Best Games of 2017.

Before I begin, this here is a list consisting of games that I have played and experienced. This is also an opinionated list so you are free to disagree with me. If for whatever reason a game you expected isn’t on this list, it’s either I haven’t played it or never knew about it. Also since many games released this year are remasters of previous games, I will be limiting things on this list for the sake of things… or not because I didn’t get to play that many games and the rest turned out to be letdown after letdown. I vote with my wallet.

15) Gravity Rush 2 – PlayStation 4

We start off this list with a game came out on the first month of the year, Gravity Rush 2. A sequel to the original, which had a remastered version last year, the game focuses on Kat and Syd in a new place, as they must find a way back home. Along the way many secrets are revealed, along with an origin tale for our favorite Gravity Shifter. The game is an improvement over the first, fixing many problems while adding new gameplay elements, such as the Gravity Styles. They also provide a lot not only on backstory but also on the world and its characters. It’s an amazing game that offers a lot and it also comes with free DLC, detailing a tale about Raven. The tale involving her is just as good as Kat’s tale and plus you get to play as Raven as well.

It’s #15 on my list since I never thought we get a sequel but I’m happy that it’s now possible. The people behind it should be proud to deliver a game like this. Now if only they don’t shut down the online aspect of it because it’s going to feel a bit stale without it.

14) Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – PlayStation 4

Let me explain first. It’s on this list for two reasons. First is that we finally get an HD version of Dream Drop Distance. The second is A Fragmented Passage and it serves as a sneak peek for what to expect in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III, if it ever comes out. But regardless the game is incredible to look at. The presentation is a huge step-up with the game running flawlessly at 60 frames per second! I mean it, purely flawless. The inclusion of Chi Back Cover adds some backstory for the mobile game and it’s pretty good.

For a compilation it’s amazing and you can get it now in a cheap price. Unlike the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix that had some problems when it came out and they had eventually been fixed, this had absolutely no issues and felt like a well deserved upgrade. I feel Square-Enix should have put a bit more time in checking before they released that. So yeah, this game is #14 since it’s a compilation that does offer new stuff alongside a remastered 3DS game from 2012.

13) Fire Emblem Warriors – Nintendo Switch/New 3DS

The Warriors series are best known for hack-and-slash fun and when Nintendo franchises are involved, they ultimately become fun experiences. It was like it with Hyrule Warriors and the 3DS port, Hyrule Warriors Legends. But then they decide to try their luck with Fire Emblem and the results are great. Fire Emblem Warriors is what you’d expect; it’s simple hack-and-slash fun. This game offers a lot in terms of content with a campaign, having multiple difficulties and a history mode where you relive certain moments in FE history. Elements of Fire Emblem such as the weapon triangle are implemented, adding a level of strategy for players.

Although the game does have some issues such as the roster and the fact some characters are only unlocked in the History Mode, it does offer a lot and for a Switch title, it’s impressive. There is DLC and like in Hyrule Warriors, it’s done right offering new characters and maps to play in. The game is also released on the 3DS handheld but only as a New 3DS exclusive, probably after how Hyrule Warriors Legends fared, having it on the New line is a good alternative. Personally the Switch version is the best one.

12) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – PlayStation 4

Celebrating the 11th anniversary of the PS2 release of FF12, Square-Enix brings the twelfth entry of their beloved franchise to the PlayStation 4, in the form of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. It’s a remaster yes but thing is, this game uses the FFXII International Zodiac Job System. For the first time, players can experience a version of FFXII that is quite different than what they once played back in 2006.

The visuals are a big step up, the music is great while the gameplay is just as you remember. It’s a perfect way for fans to celebrate a game that is part of a series of games taking place within the continent of Ivalice. For anyone that has never played a Final Fantasy game, it’s one place to start and for those who have experienced it, it’s going to be one ride you should relive. Why it’s #12 on my list since you know it would be obvious but hey, I enjoyed FF12 back in 2006 and I enjoy this even more now that it was given the upgraded treatment.

11) Metroid: Samus Returns – Nintendo 3DS

Amazing how in one year a franchise can go from have an uncertain future to a ray of hope. With Federation Force being a massive dud, fans wonder if this was the end for Samus Aran. Nope. Nintendo not only announced a new Metroid Prime game but also a remake of a Game Boy classic, Metroid: Samus Returns. A remake of the original Metroid, this game retells Samus’ journey through Planet SR388 as she’s ordered by the Galactic Federation to hunt down and eliminate all the Metroids while having to contend with everything the planet has to offer.

If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the old adage and it shows here. In addition to what makes Metroid great, they add a bunch of new things to help streamline the experience such as the Melee Counter and Aeion System. But the only gripe the game has is that the DLC for it is restricted to it’s exclusive Amiibo line. Despite this, Samus Returns is Nintendo saying I’m sorry for Federation Force. The fans have accepted this apology but let’s only hope that the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 can deliver on all fronts.

10) Cuphead – Xbox One, PC, Steam

It started as an ambitious project, made by three people who were willing to risk everything to make this possible. Three blossomed into 19 and once it got some help from Microsoft in exchange for exclusivity, their dream and ambition became a reality. Cuphead is one of the few games that is just spectacular. All you do is take on bosses while trying to study their patterns and survive. There are also some run and gun sections and it helps balance the intensity of this game.

Cuphead is hard, a very hard game that offers a lot of challenge. It’s presentation is phenomenal, paying tribute to the 1930s and 40s era of animation. The music is some of the best I’ve ever listened to with tracks that are so addicting and the gameplay is simple but there’s a level of depth that can have you using various weapons for different strategies. It’s hard yes but it’s the challenge that makes it rewarding, as it’s a nod to old school games that were hard but rewarded you for persevering. For a $20 game that’s on Xbox One, PC and Steam, you can’t say no to a game like this. Absolutely not! This game deserves to be in your collection and I highly recommend it.

9) Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – PlayStation 4

2017 is the year where classics that we grew up on in the 90s and 2000s get a needed HD makeover for a new decade. Some were well received while others were so and so. But Activision and Vicarious Visions delivered on a compilation that hit for all the right reasons, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, released on the PlayStation 4.

This compilation takes the original three PS1 games and giving it a serious facelift on all sides: presentation, sound and gameplay. It serves not only to celebrate the series but also introduces new players to the lovable marsupial Crash Bandicoot. At around $40 (or cheaper), you get three games for the price of one with trophy support and there’s even DLC of a level that is so hard, you will be pushed to your limits. It’s nostalgia kicking you in the rear end right here for all the right reasons. It’s a must-buy for anyone that grew up with the franchise or for someone that wants a first-hand experience.

8) Splatoon 2 – Nintendo Switch

In 2015, Nintendo released Splatoon for the Wii U, their take on the shooter genre that Call of Duty would claim popularity over. It didn’t had much when it launched but in time it would grow to be a game that people loved. Two years later, Splatoon returned for another round except this time it would be taken to the next level. Splatoon 2 improves so much on the original that it’s considered better than the first in every way.

You have a single-player campaign with a lot of replay value, an online component that can have you going back for hours on end whether it be co-op or multiplayer and continuous updates that would add more such as splatfests, new weapons and refinements that make it feel like a complete package. Honestly what else is to say about Splatoon 2 that hasn’t been said? It’s enjoyable whether you play alone or with friends. It deserves the #8 spot and if you haven’t gotten this game, you should because it’s worth it.

7) Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon – Nintendo 3DS

Wait one minute! This game at #7 and you ask why?! Here’s why!

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are considered to be huge improvements to the originals in so many ways. The story is better with the introduction of new elements such as Necrozma and the fact you travel through different worlds via Ultra Warp Ride. The game is still the same as it always has been but that isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s good, very good. Plus since they are the last games on Nintendo’s handhelds, it’s a fitting yet beautiful way for it to end.

The game is the same as Sun & Moon released last year but with a lot of improvements while fixing some of the problems that plagued the previous game. Not to mention the post-game is incredibly massive with you being able to catch every legendary Pokemon from the past sixth generations. It’s truly the last hurrah for the franchise on handhelds and the future for it is going to be really bright.

6) Steamworld Dig 2 – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, PC

2017 is the year where Indie developers were able to do what Triple-A publishers can’t: deliver great games. Image & Form Games, best known for the Steamworld series of games hit this one right out of the park. Steamworld Dig 2 is the sequel to the original Steamworld Dig released four years ago. Focusing on Dot as the main protagonist, her job is to find out what happened to the previous protagonist, Rusty.

It’s a Metroidvania-style game but it excels on it in so many ways. The presentation shows as you explore the underground, finding treasure and using what you earn to upgrade your character. It’s gameplay is solid and the music is soothing to listen to as you explore. The game has replay value but overall, it’s one you shouldn’t miss out on. Show your support and get this game! It’s available on almost every current system.

5) Persona 5 – PlayStation 4

This is one game that I really should put more time towards because there were so many other games that came out this year, I’ll keep it short and brief.

Atlus has done it again with the fifth main installment of the Persona series. Persona 5 takes everything that makes the other games good and goes full throttle. Everything about Persona 5 is awesome: the characters, the gameplay, the music, the story, it has enough twists and turns that it has you on the edge of your seat. Not only that but bonding with your allies help boost your confidants’ strength and in turn makes you stronger. It’s one of the best Atlus has delivered and it’s one that makes you want to go back. Persona 5 deserves its spot at #5 and I’ll say this, you never saw this coming.

4) Nioh – PlayStation 4

What do you get when you take Dark Souls and combine it with the feel of Japanese tales and folklore? You get Nioh! Nioh is a game that I have spent hours upon hours on trying to be as strong as I can be. It’s that addicting. Nioh is such a marvel to play and even more of a marvel to look at. The Dark Souls mentality exists but in turn, the game is more fast-paced requiring you to be on your toes against enemies that will spare no expense in taking you down. In addition you can customize the protagonist William “Anjin” Adams however you want, adding more replay value to the game.

Replay value for the game is through the roof with New Game+ and even after beating that, you unlock New Game++ and so on. The DLC for the game add hours into an otherwise complete package, with new weapons, guardian spirits, balance tweaks, etc. It’s incredible. Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja should be praised for giving us a game that is not only challenging but fun. If you are in a fix for a game that’s like Dark Souls but intense and action-packed Nioh is it. Take it from me. This game is awesome. Hard, but awesome!

3) Sonic Mania – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC

A Sonic game made by fans for the fans and it shows. Sonic Mania is 2D Sonic at it’s absolute best. Sonic, Tails & Knuckles return for a new adventure, journeying to stop Dr. Eggman who has gotten his hands on a gem called the Phantom Ruby and uses it to do some crazy stuff like turning a pack of Egg Robos into the Hard-Boiled Heavies. You travel through 12 zones, eight of them being retreads of zones from previous games while adding something new and making nods to all things Sonic.

Christian Whitehead and Tee Lopes should be praised all the way to high heaven for their contributions. Whitehead especially for the gameplay! He understood how a Sonic game should be done and it shows. Tee Lopes nailed it on the music with many tracks being so amazingly good. It’s a game for fans who grew up with Sonic and for people that want to get into it but don’t know where to start. Sonic Mania is the game of choice. The only sad thing is that this ties in to the disappointingly Sonic Forces but regardless it shouldn’t dissuade you from playing this. No way.

The last two entries on this list is just so hard to decide. Both of them came out on a console that has become a massive moneymaker for Nintendo. If I wanted to, I would have both of them fit the #1 slot but I can’t. I honestly can’t.

2) Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo Switch

People say that this banks heavily on nostalgia. I disagree. Super Mario Odyssey is the definitive 3D Mario Game taking what made the 3D Mario games good like 64, Sunshine and Galaxy and improving on them. It’s a celebration of the Mario franchise while offering an adventure like any other. The biggest addition and one that’s considered a major game changer is Cappy. Having the ability to possess anything it comes across adds a whole new layer of gameplay I have never seen. In addition the game is so much fun with exploration being it’s highest point. There is so much to do in Mario Odyssey that it’s nuts. It’s completely nuts.

The gameplay is refined and almost perfect, its presentation is just delightful with each world being able to stand out offering something different with the Metro Kingdom being my personal favorite. The music is what you’d expect in a Mario game: a joy to listen to and combined with the fact that the game has massive replay value. It’s incredible. This here is a game that anyone who owns a Switch should have. If you have a Switch, get it. NOW! You won’t regret it.

1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch

You all knew that this game would be on the list! You all know that this game has won numerous awards and has gone on to become one of the greatest games ever! What else needs to be said about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that hasn’t already been said. It’s one of the best Zelda games hands down. An open world experience that offers so much to do and it depends on what you do. You could go straight to Ganon if you want or you can pretty much take your time exploring Hyrule and getting yourself stronger. This game offers a freedom I never thought I’d see and it’s so good.

 

I don’t have much else to say about it. Breath of the Wild is a game that says farewell to the Nintendo Wii U and hello to the Nintendo Switch. A game that earns it’s praise and the added content via Expansion Pass offers more to an otherwise incredible game. People can say I’m biased about it but no, I don’t think that way. Breath of the Wild is the definitive Zelda game that is a celebration of the franchise but also one of the best games of 2017! Hands down.

 

Honorable Mentions

  • A Hat in Time
  • ARMS
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
  • Fire Emblem Heroes
  • Hey! Pikmin
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • NieR: Automata
  • Super Mario Run
  • Uncharted: Lost Legacy
  • Yakuza 0
  • Yakuza Kiwami
  • Yo-kai Watch 2 Psychic Specters
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Hey! Pikmin Review

Hey! Pikmin Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by Nintendo

Nintendo has a knack for providing franchises the exposure they need and they do so via consoles and handhelds. Sometimes they work and other times can lead to a franchise dying out. The results vary but when it was announced that a new Pikmin game would be coming to the Nintendo 3DS, people were curious. Pikmin has had a few successes with its three main games with a strong reception, but the idea of a spin-off game seemed questionable. Eventually Hey! Pikmin would arrive but the big question is this: Does this spin off game hold its own compared to its main series? Or will this be another case of a franchise that ended due to an unexpected flop?

The story centers on Capt. Olimar, who is returning back after completing another assignment. During his trip, his ship gets struck by an asteroid and ends up crashing on an unknown planet. He learns that in order to fix his ship and get back home, he needs to seek out an energy source called Sparklium. But he won’t do it alone. The planet that he crashed in is home to Pikmin, little plant-like creatures that Olimar can use to complete his mission. With these helpers, Olimar heads off to find what he needs to fix his ship and head home.

It’s a simple story, traditional since it’s almost the same in every Pikmin game. Sure the previous games add a little bit here and there but in Hey! Pikmin, the plot is bare bones. Sadly it also takes a backseat in favor of the game and it doesn’t be any relevant until at least you collect 30,000 Sparklium. But for a Pikmin game, what can you do?

Now since this is a Pikmin game, your job is to find Pikmin and use them to solve puzzles, defeat enemies and find treasures. Olimar can’t defend himself. He doesn’t have anything that can provide offense. All he has is a whistle and a jetpack that lets you hover for a short time. The only form of offense that you have is the Pikmin. They come in different varieties and each of them provides a different advantage for your journey. Red Pikmin is immune to fire and are strong fighters. Yellow can be thrown farther and can withstand electricity. Blue Pikmin are agile swimmers and essential for underwater combat. Rock Pikmin pack a punch and can destroy crystalized walls and Winged Pikmin can help you float through dangerous hazards and can reach high places. Unlike the main Pikmin games, this one you are only limited to 20 Pikmin in each area. This adds a bit of strategy but also a bit of micromanaging since you need to make sure everyone is safe from harm. Carelessness will lead you to defeat.

Hey! Pikmin has you traveling through 8 Sectors, each with 5 areas. As you trek, you need to seek out Pikmin and use them to survive what lies ahead. This also relates to finding Sparklium. You do that by collecting Sparklium in each area. Finding treasures also count because they net a high amount of Sparklium and each area has at least 2-4 treasures to find. Finding them is the challenge. They can appear where you least expect it. Exploration is a definite must and the game offers a lot of it. If you’re lucky, you may find a hidden exit that can lead to an Area X. Those areas put your Pikmin playing skills to the test. Sometimes they can be a cakewalk and others can be a test of skill. At the end of every sector is a boss fight. If you know how the bosses behave, then they won’t be much of a challenge. One good thing about it is that the game really does a good job showing them before the big fight.

In addition to exploration, there’s also Pikmin Park and using all the Pikmin you gathered, you can order them to head to specific areas to excavate more Sparklium. It’s a neat addition and offers more to an interesting game. As I said before, getting Sparklium is needed to reach the end and you’ll have to do so in this 10-12 hour game. Going for 100% will have you clocking in at about 16 hours since you need to complete every stage, find every treasure and do so with all Pikmin unharmed. This game will test you.

For a 3DS game, the presentation is well done. The characters and environment are vibrant and colorful. Each world has a unique theme that offers something different as you progress. Olimar and the Pikmin I feel is the best thing since they express themselves in the form of short cutscenes. Some are rather humorous but it’s to be expected for a Pikmin game. The game has some great music. Unlike other games where music doesn’t reflect the game, this does and it’s done very well. Some songs like the cave areas have a bit of a Metroid vibe to them. It’s pretty good and it helps make the game feel enjoyable. The controls are good. You just tap with the stylus on the touchscreen and you can fling your Pikmin to where they will go. It can help with some tricky puzzles. The touch screen is also used for the whistle to get your Pikmin in line as well as the rocket backpack. Movement is done either with the analog stick or the D-Pad. The D-Pad is a safer bet if you feel analog isn’t your thing.

Though I do enjoy some of the good things, there are a few things I find problematic with the game. First, the puzzles are too simple at times. Understandably since this game is meant for kids but for others, they may find them to be too easy. The same can be said for the bosses. Many of their patterns are simple to figure out, making some of them be a joke. Thankfully each boss provides a different challenge, requiring you to use the Pikmin you have to take the boss down. Replay value is there if you want to go back and beat every level with all Pikmin intact but other than that, there isn’t much. It’s pretty much a one & done game when it comes to finding everything. Speaking of which, the Pikmin is another flaw I have with the game. They’re only useful when they see anything of interest and are pretty much brain dead. Sometimes they don’t follow fast enough and you can end up either losing Pikmin or getting killed and forced to restart. Oh, and there are no checkpoints. If you die, you have to start the level all over again. That is an issue especially in tougher levels where you are forced to redo a lot of progress. That’s upsetting.

In conclusion, Hey! Pikmin isn’t a bad game, far from it. It’s an enjoyable game that offers a lot of charm and a pretty acceptable challenge. For a handheld, Nintendo did well in bringing Pikmin to the small screen. A good presentation with simple yet effective controls added with an acceptable amount of challenge makes this a worthy addition to the franchise. If you want something to keep yourself busy before Nintendo makes an official Pikmin sequel, this is it. Trust me. You’ll enjoy it.

I give Hey! Pikmin an 8.5 out of 10.

Splatoon 2 Review

Splatoon 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by Nintendo.

Two years ago, Nintendo released Splatoon for the Wii U gaining high praise across the board. At first, it didn’t have much content but as time went on, Nintendo added features and modes while refining the game and making it a satisfying experience. From then on, it became a game that anyone who owned a Wii U should play. When Nintendo announced a sequel for the Nintendo Switch, expectations were high. Now that the game is released, does it meet up to all the hype that fans were expecting?

For starters, Splatoon 2 is a huge step up compared to the first. The presentation is spot on, capturing the feel of the first game but on a much broader scale. Having it on the Nintendo Switch helped considerably. The soundtrack is great with tunes that are fun to listen to. As far as its plot goes, it takes place 2 years after the first game. Its single-player campaign has you taking the role of an Inkling, which you can create, by the way, encountering Marie one day in Inkopolis. Marie asks for the Inkling’s aid in finding her cousin Callie. It’s a simple plot but with Splatoon, it has a sense of humor and it’s done well. I only wish that there would be a bit more backstory in regards to the two Squid Sisters and what happened to the two in the two years between the two games.

Like many other games Nintendo has made, it follows an adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you played the first Splatoon, you will feel right at home in this one although to a degree. Yes, there are motion controls in the game but it’s more used towards aiming your weapons. You use the left analog to move, ZL to turn to a squid so you can traverse faster, ZR to shoot, R to use secondary weapons and B to jump. Clicking the right analog lets you use your special attack. It’s just as good as it was in the previous game and with the improvements, it makes the experience better. But for anyone that feel motion controls aren’t for them, the game gives you the option to use analog control just like in traditional shooters. A welcome feature since the first game didn’t give you the option to turn off motion controls. It shows that Nintendo is listening to feedback and that’s a good thing. In addition, you have access to over 20 different weapons with some being brand new like the Splat Dualies, Herobrush, Hero Gatling and many others. There are also new secondary and special attacks that add a lot to the game.

Splatoon 2’s single player campaign has you going through six areas each with up to 6 stages. In each stage, you go from start to finish taking out enemies, solving puzzles and finding secrets such as Sardinium and pamphlets. In some levels, you are given a weapon to use and you need to beat the level with said weapon in order to unlock it. There are 8 weapons in all and using Sardinium and small fish eggs, you can be able to upgrade them so they can be stronger. The best part is that you can replay any of the levels, including the bosses with any weapons that you unlock. This adds a lot of replay value to the campaign, for those that want to beat every level with every weapon. There are bosses here and some can be a challenge but if you know what you’re doing, you will manage. Checkpoints are there, including boss fights, making the trek a bit of a reprieve for players.

Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of Splatoon 2, the multiplayer. Splatoon 2 online is just as good as the first. It’s split between three modes: Random, Ranked and League. Each of the three modes put you in one of two maps that change every two hours. You play with 7 other players and are split between 2 teams of 4 players each. Random (or Player) battles have you and other players compete to see who can cover the map with the most ink in 3 minutes. It can be really addicting but also it requires you to be alert since your opponents will spare no expense in ensuring you go down. Ranked and League Battles take things up a notch with various goal-based types such as Splat Zone, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. Splat Zone is straightforward, Tower Control focuses on teams battling over a moving mobile tower and Rainmaker is like capture the flag except you have access to a powerful weapon that can turn the tide. What makes this better is that all three have their own ranking system and they change every few hours making things fresh and exciting.

For those that want to team up with friends, you have Salmon Run. You and three friends (local or online) team up to get golden eggs from enemy Salmonids in a set time limit in each wave. Teamwork is key but what makes it fun is that in each wave, you start with a different weapon and you need to adapt not only to what you have but with your teammates as well. It can get crazy and really fun plus playing with friends is always a blast. Plus you get paid whether you succeed or not and you can use the bonus from it to unlock new gear that you can use to customize your Inkling. My only complaint is the fact that Salmon Run is only available at certain times of the week. Upsetting I know but I wish in the future Nintendo could allow this as a permanent mode.

Customization is aplenty in Splatoon 2. There are shops where you can buy weapons and gear. Using currency that you earn by playing online, you can use it to unlock new weapons for online matches and gear that gives your Inkling various bonuses. Not only that but if you feel that the bonuses aren’t to your liking, you can speak to Murch to gear scrub your gear and put new abilities on it. It’s incredible. Also with the Nintendo Switch app, you can be able to buy gear that you can transfer into the game. That’s cool. Splatoon 2 has Amiibo support just like in the first game and using them allow you to save data for your weapon, hairstyle, and gear. They can be used to set up, even on another console. Plus they unlock new gear and exclusive weapons for your Inkling. Like the first game, there will also be Splatfests where players choose a side and they work to see who will win. Additional content is coming down the line adding more to an otherwise intense game.

If I had any negatives, I feel that in regards to the online maps, they’re chosen at random. It doesn’t hurt the game as much as I thought originally but I wish they would allow it at least for private battles with friends. Also like in the first game, there’s no voice chat but in truth, there is but you need the Nintendo Switch App and a Splatoon 2 headset to actually do it. I find it to be cumbersome, unnecessary & a step backward. Yes, I know that Nintendo values safety but I wish they would get with the times and try incorporating voice chat in the game without the need for anything ludicrous.

Overall, Splatoon 2 is a big step up from the original. Huge amount of customization, a good single player campaign and addicting online multiplayer provide so much for your money’s worth. Negatives aside, the game offers so much. With the Nintendo Switch already being a big success for the company, if there is any game that is worth a full purchase price, it’s this one. Becoming a squid kid has never been so much fun and I couldn’t have it any other way.

I give Splatoon 2 a 9 out of 10. This is a must-buy game and I highly recommend it. It also earns my personal seal of approval.

My Top 10 Games of 2016

2016 has been a rather unexpected year when it comes to gaming. We’ve had good games, bad games, disappointing games and games that end up getting canned for one reason or another. Regardless, it’s time for a list and it’s not going to be an easy one. I’m not limiting this to just Nintendo games. I’m involving all sorts of games so without further ado, these are my Top 10 Games of 2016.

Word of warning for everyone… if you find that a game you like isn’t on the list, you are welcome to make your own and share it. I won’t judge you and remember, the only opinion that should ever matter is your own.

Let us begin.

10) Song of the Deep – PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Kicking off the list we have Song of the Deep, developed and published by Insomniac Games. Song of the Deep is basically Metroid but in an underwater style. I will admit. This game had me intrigued because of its design and presentation. When I got to play it, it was a sight to behold. The presentation for it is incredible with the level of detail to be intense. It’s gameplay leaves a lot to be desired but it fits the world that this game is. Not to mention it’s a bit too simple and short, around 4 hours. I’ll cut some slack since the game is rather cheap and there’s replay value to back it up. This game deserves a bit more appreciation. Sure it’s not the best but for what it’s worth, it’s a soothing and satisfying experience. I recommend that you pick the game up, at least to see for yourself how good it is. It’s $10! It’s not the best but I feel that it deserves to be #10 on my list.

9) Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS – Nintendo 3DS

To think that Nintendo would take a risk and bring a game like this to their best-selling handheld is a challenge onto itself. But for its shortcomings, I say that they did a good job. Mario Maker for 3DS is what it is, a port of a game that was on Wii U now fit on the handheld. Nothing more. Nothing less. The only problems I have with the game is that there’s no Amiibo functionality, you can’t play others courses or share courses online and the only way you can share them is through its Streetpass function. But despite its negatives, the game is still really fun and can even push your skills as a gamer/level creator to the test. Had this game allowed you to share courses online and play others’ from the get-go, it’d be rated higher. I recommend playing this on a New 3DS XL because, on a regular 3DS, you can experience crashes. I just want to give you a heads up.

8) Final Fantasy XV – PlayStation 4, Xbox One (PC coming soon)

We waited a long time for this game. It originally was going to be part of the Fabula Nova Crystalis as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Unfortunately, it was scrapped and then replaced with this. The wait was long but in the end is worth it. Final Fantasy XV is a great game. Its strong points are the gameplay, the open world location and the many things you can do in this said world. My problems with the game are its lackluster story and the characters. The four protagonists are fleshed out well enough but everything else feels flat. Made worse is that in order to better understand this, you need to watch stuff that’s outside the game like the film Kingsglaive and OVA Brotherhood. Other than that, I couldn’t find anything else wrong but at least Square-Enix is dedicated to making the game better while filling up story bits that should have been added. Thankfully I’m happy with that and it shows that they really want to make the game feel complete. I recommend giving this game a chance. Besides once the negatives are pushed aside, you have a game that’s very satisfying.

7) Overwatch – PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Blizzard has a lot of balls for trying their luck in the first-person shooter genre and it paid off considerably with this game. Overwatch is just that: a first-person shooter game where you and five others can take the fight against the opposition in various modes. They range from escort/stop the payload to capturing defensive points/objectives on the map. Okay. It’s a bit small but that’s not why it’s on the list. Overwatch’s strong points are its setting and characters. No two characters are similar. Each character offers something different and that’s what makes it good. Coupled with the fact that there’s a lot to do in this game, it’s nuts. We already got two new characters, a whole bunch of new modes and events and knowing what 2017 has in store, it’s going to get better. This game is better played if you have friends because it’s all the more satisfying when you achieve victory. I ask you… are you with me?

6) Paper Mario: Color Splash – Nintendo Wii U

I know what you’re thinking. Why is this game on the list? Let me explain. Sure this game uses the same style as Paper Mario: Sticker Star but that’s pretty much it. Why it’s on my list because it is a much better game. Design wise, it is awesome. It is a step up from the previous game and the theme involving paint and colors adds it in perfectly. You can tell when you travel through Prisma Island. The addition of restoring the world through paint offers something different. Using cards instead of stickers is a lot better. The humor this game has is spot on with some being very funny to listen. Color Splash offers a lot here and I say it is miles better especially since it’s released on a system that’s on its deathbed. I only wish that Nintendo could go back to its roots with the game offering what it should be, instead of this. But for what it’s worth, I say it’s a must buy. Truthfully it is a must buy and I recommend this game.

Enjoying the list so far? Good because we’re now reaching the halfway point of this list. There’s no going back for us now.

5) Fire Emblem Fates – Nintendo 3DS

Three years after the release of Fire Emblem: Awakening, we get a game that not only is good but offers so much. I’m talking about Fire Emblem Fates and I speak on behalf of everything the game offers. What’s different from the previous games is its branching campaigns. You play as Corrin, a young noble who was born in the kingdom of Hoshido but was raised by the kingdom of Nohr. When both kingdoms declare war on each other, you have to make a choice on whose family you would side. Should you side with Hoshido, the kingdom you were born in as your Birthright. Should you side with Nohr, the kingdom that raised you and follows the side of Conquest. Or will you choose neither side and instead work to have both kingdoms unite under one banner and learn of a Revelation that threatens all. That is what makes the game stand out. The three campaigns: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation offer hours of gameplay and customization that can drive you nuts. Replay value here is through the roof, along with additional content via DLC drives it even further. I won’t go into too much detail but if you haven’t picked up this game, you should. I recommend trying your luck to get the Special Edition of the game, which has all 3 campaigns in one DLC. But if you are getting either Birthright or Conquest, expect to spend a lot just to get the rest. It’s why this game gets the #5 on my slot on this list.

4) Gravity Rush Remastered – PlayStation 4

In 2012, a game called Gravity Rush was released on the PlayStation Vita. It was a game that was fun, different and offered something new. Sadly not many people got to play it due to being released on a handheld that Sony never gave a damn about. Four years later, SCE Studio and Project Siren bring this game over to the PlayStation 4 and my god, it is incredible. Gravity Rush Remastered is marvelous. Seeing the game in glorious HD is jaw dropping. It’s nuts! What’s even better is that it runs at a solid 60 frames per second. Flawless 60fps. It is perfect. They also refined the game’s controls making things such as sliding across the city seamless. You can use the back buttons on the PS4 controller but there’s also the option to use the DualShock 4’s motion controls so it offers some variety for players. What’s even better is that the Remastered port includes all the DLC for the game and at a price of $30, how can you say no to that? You simply can’t.

This game is what made the PlayStation Vita stand out but now that it’s on a PS4, it’s the go-to game for anyone wanting this console. I highly recommend it. It is a must buy, without a doubt and it should prep anyone for the eventual release of Gravity Rush 2 coming in January.

3) Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita and PC

WayForward should be praised and commended for making a game like this. Not a lot of people are going to like having this as my #3 spot but this is a perfect example of a Kickstarter campaign done right, aside from Shovel Knight. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is amazing. There is so much good to say here such as the presentation. Design-wise, it’s a step up from the previous game. 2.5D at its finest with the character models being at its absolute best. Jake Kaufman does it again with the music here and all the tracks are addicting to listen to. Very addicting. The gameplay is similar to the first two games but it’s improved and easy enough for anyone to pick up and play. Hopefully, with the upcoming DLC like Risky Boots’ campaign, Half-Genie Hero is going to be one that’s worth every penny. Show love to WayForward. Get this game now!

2) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice – Nintendo 3DS

The Ace Attorney series has endured for more than 15 years with a strong and devoted following. 2013’s Dual Destinies is one a lot of people were hyped for and though nowadays is a bit mixed it was a welcome addition. Three years later, Phoenix Wright returns in full force with the sixth game in the main franchise: Spirit of Justice. Similar to the previous entries, it’s a visual novel style game where as Phoenix Wright (or any of the others like Apollo & Athena) you must investigate witnesses, find evidence and discover the truth through the courts. This time around, the story takes Phoenix to the Kingdom of Khura’in and in that country, defense attorneys are outlawed. Spirit of Justice introduces the Divination Seances where it details the last thing the victim sees before they pass on. But the truth isn’t always black and white. That’s where we come in to figure out if what the victim sees is the truth or not.

Many staples that are prevalent in the previous entries return here but its biggest points are its story and music. The story is a bit dark and intense for a game like this and the music is still its shining moment. Believe me, there are some tracks that are incredible to listen to. Whereas Dual Destinies serves as a return to form for the well-respected attorney, Spirit of Justice serves as a passing of the torch for Apollo Justice, allowing him to take the spotlight he deserves. It’s reason enough why this gets the #2 spot.

1) Pokémon Sun & Moon – Nintendo 3DS

Some people like the game, others didn’t. To tell you the truth, I enjoyed the game. As a fan of Pokémon since Generation 1, I had a lot of expectations. They paid off when it came out. Nintendo, GameFreak & The Pokemon Company took a lot of risks in making this stand out over the previous generations. Removing some staples like Gyms, HMs seems crazy when you think about it. However, when I got to play it for myself, I can say is wow… they nailed it. The game does hold your hand a lot at times but you do get the chance to explore at your leisure. The Island Challenges are interesting and provide something different instead of going to a gym and earning a badge. It’s emphasized a lot and I like it personally. Z-Moves are also cool and how they look is amazing. But if I were to net any nitpicks, it’s the story. That leaves a lot to be desired. I wish it can improve but at least the game is still the way you remember it.

Pokemon Sun & Moon may not be for everyone but for those that put the time into it, it’s a pretty awesome game. I recommend it and yes, it’s one that I feel should be #1 on my list.

Honorable Mentions: Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, Pokken Tournament, Yo-Kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits & Fleshy Souls, Ratchet & Clank PS4, Kirby: Planet Robobot

That’s pretty much it for this list. Remember, my list is 100% opinionated and you are welcome to disagree with me. If you guys have a list of your own Top 10s or if you feel that a game you played should be on the list, let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from everyone.

 

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers Review

For this review, my copy is a review copy given to me by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Available for the following: PS4, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Written by Jose Vega

In 2012, a film called The Avengers was released in theaters to widespread critical acclaim. It was the result of several Marvel films that would lead to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes uniting against an other worldly foe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe would form as a result. It sets the stage for future films all while introducing characters old and new for a modern age. Four years later, WB and Tell Tale Games would take the MCU and bring it to a completely different world… Legos. The result is LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. But you probably wish to ask yourself? Does it deliver? The answer is yes. It does in so many ways that it’s worth the price.

Like many LEGO games before, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers takes us through several films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with The Avengers and the sequel, Age of Ultron along with both Captain America films, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. It’s a pretty good selection and it lets fans relive some of the films’ many moments and in true LEGO fashion, they provide some very funny bits when it comes to the characters. I had a few moments where I laughed because the humor is very spot-on. It fit the LEGO environment and I liked it. It was great. The voice acting is ripped straight from the many Marvel films. I feel personally that’s one of the game’s faults. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not bad because some parts of the game with the voices actually make it feel like you’re watching the movie. But I wish that many of the people behind the films could maybe re-record their lines so that way it can feel alive. But they did include new lines into this game and I say personally that’s a good thing. In fact, it’s very good, in my humble opinion. I hope that in future LEGO games, they bring in the actors behind the films to provide voice work. It can help provide a better experience.

We move on to the gameplay and like many of the LEGO games, it’s roughly unchanged. That is a good thing because you know the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Warner Bros. and Tell Tale Games did a superb job doing so keeping the gameplay simple yet fun. All you do is collect studs all while beating up bad guys, solving puzzles with the characters you play with and trying to find any secrets that you’ll encounter such as Mini-Kits, Red Bricks and rescuing Stan Lee. Yes, everyone. Stan Lee is in the game and you’ll be encountering him a lot. Heck he even provides his voice to the game and that’s awesome. I love it. The game spans across 15 levels with the story mode spanning 12. Three of the levels can be accessed within the Space area that serves as a level select. Hub areas can also be chosen and in them, you have the opportunity to explore, complete missions to unlock characters, take part in races, find secrets, etc. There are a lot you can do in the Hub worlds that it can take you hours. Speaking of which, the story mode will take you roughly 7-8 hours with the free play taking a couple more if you want to find all the secrets in each level. Coupled with the hub worlds and their many secrets and you have a game that will take you hours, if not days. LEGO games really want you to put the effort needed and like many of them, they reward you for it. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers also has co-op so you and a friend can team up, take down bad guys and destroy everything around them. It’s a good alternative since if you are playing solo the AI can sometimes be unreliable. But I could be wrong since in some instances, they do provide a good distraction towards your enemies so you can complete objectives. There is also additional content courtesy of the season pass and at $10, it’s very acceptable since they add more characters and missions adding more to the game. I feel that it’s DLC done properly. Kudos to them.

Regardless of this and many other issues, the game is fun. If you enjoyed the previous LEGO games, then you’ll have no problem jumping into this one. It feels familiar but with the addition of an open world sandbox for you to explore makes this game a satisfying experience. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. That is a fact.

I rate this game an 8.5 out of 10. It is a great game that is enjoyable, easy to get into with hours of replayability and a challenge that feels right. Add in an open world sandbox and you have a game that delivers. I recommend this game to anyone that wants to experience the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the eyes of LEGOs.

Final Rating: 8.5