Mario Kart 8 Review (Wii U)

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Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback

Mario Kart is a well-known franchise spanning across many years and multiple systems.  This 8th installment takes Nintendo’s beloved series to new heights with incredible visuals, all the things we love about the classics, and a new twist, literally, to the tracks.  It seems hard to believe that any game beyond its third version could succeed the way Mario Kart has. There’s a formula that seems to work and I truly enjoyed every minute of it.

I can’t say enough about the visuals of this title.  Lighting, manipulation, and graphical prowess are on par with anything to date on the new generation of systems.  Nintendo is definitely giving Playstation, and Xbox a run for their money with this one.  With the title being as fast paced as it is, one might think little needed to go into the animation and graphical consideration of the tracks, but Nintendo goes all out.  The tracks are constantly  moving and teaming with life.  Objects jump into your way, laser lights scream at you from the side lines, and if you catch the track at the right moment you’ll catch details in the background that are sure to surprise.  At one point I looked up and fireworks in the shape of Bowser were going off, or Peaty Piranha was dancing to the music.

To add even more appeal Mario Kart 8 brings us highlight reels after the race, which can be edited, fast-forwarded, rewound, and slowed down by the player.  What might seem like a simple green shell throw turns into a vast array of action during slow down.  The shell crashed into another player sending sparks flying through the air just as your own player bounces out of his seat, fist high in the air in celebration of victory in the moment. With each sequence of the race many of these replay reels can be enjoyed.  Mario Kart TV, another added feature of the game, lets us watch replays of other friends, regional, or worldwide players, and encourages players to post to their youtube channel right from the game.

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Mario Kart has always been a fast paced title, but this time it’s even more smooth and on point. When players go flying of the track Lakitu makes sure to bring them back quicker than before.  The menu system makes it easy to get started into a race as soon as possible, online or off.  Item rotation happens faster, letting the player decide their strategy in a much more quick way.  It’s all been fine tuned for the perfect racing free for all, and it works like a charm.

New items have been added in the mix as well.  Super horn lets you stop blue shells or just get close competitors off your back, Peaty Piranha hitches a ride sending you into boost mode and chomping at players or distasteful items you pass. Boomerang Flower allows players to throw a boomerang at opponents in front of them up to three times. Last and most epic, Crazy 8 which lets the player surround themselves with eight different items that can be use in random succession in a whirlwind of item madness.  Item usage is an essential part of the game, and is thankfully quite well-balanced making from an even better experience.

Also new to the series is the idea of anti-gravity mode.  During certain portions of the track, players wheels turn into hovers letting the rider float ever-so-slightly off the ground.  While in this mode, bumping into other players delivers a speed boost.  Part of the challenge is finding the perfect angle to bump into them as to not send yourself flying off the track, while still being the only player to benefit from the bump.  This new mechanic could have been a catastrophe for Nintendo, but like all other aspects of the title, is perfectly executed, and excellent for more strategic players.

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Between anti-gravity mode bumping, boost pads, item boxes, drifting, kart customization, and track layout.  There is not end to the potential a player has to get ahead.  The game does a great job of doing this without the feeling of overuse, or being unbalanced.  Shortcuts during the tracks are helpful but can be risky.  If you’re an expert it might be a much more simple choice, but one false move could take you from 1st to 8th, forcing the player to weigh the risk over benefit.

Online play adds even more fun, single and two player split screen online, battle or race, and every option in between leaves no player behind.  It’s easy to set up tournaments or jump online with friends, and the game runs at 60 fps without a hiccup during the online races.  While speaking with friends over mic is a nice option, I wish it wasn’t just restricted to friends.  A small trivial detail when the title is this good.

Overall perfect balance and the incredible fast pace, along with multiplayer on and offline leave only the most trivial things to be desired in this title.  This is a must own for any Wii U owner or Nintendo fan, and a system seller for those that have missed the band wagon on how amazing the Wii U system is.  Beautiful rendering and eccentric music create an atmosphere that is unforgettable. It’s a title with extreme replay value that sucks the player in. I won’t be setting this title down for quite some time. See you online!

Mario Kart 8 Gets

 5mf

Out of five

What’s Legit

+New items that are fun and balanced

+Fast paced gameplay that is fair for all players

+Anti-gravity and other track strategies work well

+Incredible Visuals

+New Playable Characters and vehicle customization

What’s Perpetrating

-Removal of secondary standby item

-Can’t talk to all online players, only friends in the lobby

 

#MarioKart8 @PlayLegit

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Rayman Legends Review

Rayman Legends  -- 5

Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback

With the invention of three-dimensional gaming art, came the worry that 2D platformers were a thing of the past, and they were for quite a while.  Rayman Legends for Wii U is one of those games that throws you back to the reason, that we should keep playing games in 2D.  It’s a beautiful match up of artistic wonder and fun delight, but does it really stack up against the pros, and are we looking forward to more of this type of game on the Wii U? While Rayman has impressed us before, I can’t think of a single third-party game that does it quite like this.  Throughout the title it introduces us to more new ideas, continuing our lust for more adventure.  It’s a decent length at about 10-15 hours and its doesn’t keep us waiting.

The animation for the title displays  wonderfully on the Wii U.  In true HD Rayman becomes a lovely masterpiece with the scale becoming massive.  Ogres swing their arms destroying the vast landscape behind Rayman as he runs into the next trap.  Enemies twenty times his size head his way full speed.  The lighting in the title gives us a dark dank feeling as we travel through the clouded skies and dingy underground.  Each level looks like it was hand drawn in water-color and although a lot of the levels have a dark mid-evil feel it doesn’t take away from the artistic array of color.   As soon as you start to think it can’t get any more awesome the next level is set to impress.

The stage presentation is amazing.  Some are based more on puzzle platforming weaving your character through a maze as it turns upside down on the screen.  Others are closer to a vertical shooter while you jump through the sky and rain fireballs upon your enemy.  This is taken one step further when you add in the ability of the gamepad which we will talk about a little later.  The stages are all themed with different songs and the sound of the game is top-notch keeping the humor and fun at an all time high.  That coupled with the sound effects of the characters and enemies and it’s a no brainer, Rayman has it in the bag.

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Starting out with limited abilities the game teases you into the next round of powers.  Unexpected additions later in the game allow you to slip past trip wires, eliminate challenging bosses, or make your way through challenge levels that test your ability.  The surroundings manipulate and move to create quite the spectacle and reveal hidden areas and missed opportunities.   Where there isn’t much of a story to speak of, the gameplay makes up for it by creating nooks and crannies for us to discover.  Rayman’s controls are quite interesting because characters float instead of being heavy on the ground, and while it takes a bit of getting used to the controls are very well done.

While the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions support co-op, the Wii U is outmatched in this department.  Up to five players can tag along with one using the touch screen of the game pad.  Rayman Legends was originally planned as a Wii U exclusive and it shows through with the quality game pad work.  The game pad player helps by activating switches in the environment, allowing other players to move forward in the stages.  This touch screen player is shown on-screen as a radioactive green firefly who creates platforms, turns levers, and otherwise zooms around helping his friends.  unfortunately this wasn’t taken over into the online world which means we don’t have any stats to compare ourselves against.

Overall this is one of the best third-party games to date for the Wii U and a must own for the system.  There is no end to the fun you can get from this game.  Every time you think you’ve found the level or stage you love the next one is set to impress.  It’s fun, it’s quirky, and all around it was a delightful surprise to say the least.  It’s a game that’s fun for beginners and veterans alike and has all the appeal of your favorite cartoons coupled with incredible looking scenery.

Rayman Legends Gets:

4-5mf

Out of Five

What’s Legit?

+Challenges are endless

+Beautiful visuals and music

+Extremely fun interactions with the environment / characters

+Great Co-op Play

What’s Perpetrating?

-No online play

@PlayLegit #RaymanLegends

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Pikmin 3 Review

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Real Talk By: KJ

It’s the game Wii U owners have waited for. After a few delays, has Nintendo delivered the goods? The three Main Characters ( Alph, Charlie, and Brittany), are space scavengers who have crash-landed on an “Alien” Planet. With limited resources, the crew must pull together items within the levels to survive. While some objects will provide the squad with more intel, the most valuable grabs would be the produce. Collecting fruit keeps everyone alive for a day, it’s all harvested, and must be continuously collected for your campaign to continue. Juice is made, which is then squeezed into vials. So it’s not about making it to a certain day with ship parts, there’s more going on.

The Space explorers won’t make it on their own. They will use the Pikmin to bring everything found to the spaceship. If you’re a new player, the game will make sure you understand how to play. Tutorial items can be found throughout, and the beginning missions are all designed to bring in the newbies (like it or not). Veteran players will yell “Yes I know!” at their screens in the first few levels. The Red, Blue, and Yellow Creatures are here to help as always. Red is still the go-to group of Pikmin if you’re in a fight, and they keep their fire resistance. The Blue type is the only one you can take underwater, and the yellow type is shock resistant.

Understanding the right group of Pikmin to use for each level is a major part of the strategy. This reigns true even more so when you unlock the new ones. Theres a Winged type. These pink creatures can follow from above, hovering over water, this way players wont have to worry about them drowning. They’ll Grab hard to reach items, and take out winged enemies. Rock types can break shells around structures and even enemies, leaving them open for other plant-types to swarm. Seeing the little guys fighting is really cool, especially when you have a diverse group. Keep in mind you can only have 100 out at a time. When Pikmin drown, or die in general, the noises they make are brutal, so don’t do it. Gamers will really have to think about which creatures they will use as the difficulty ramps up.

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Bringing three main characters into the game wasn’t just for storytelling. Having three characters at your disposal and not just captain Olimar or Louie, opens up a lot more opportunities. Yes you’re still regulated to a time limit, wherein you have to gather resources before the day is through. Still, The way this title its structured, players can get a lot more completed this way. Send a certain group of Pikmin with one, another group with the other. Have the third person standing guard making sure everyone gets back safely. The game gives plenty of options when completing tasks. The story will offer a few surprises along the way, and should take most 12 hours to complete. Visuals are spectacular. The textures in the game are most certainly detailed. No cost was spared in the design. It looks great regardless of the time of day, or climate your playing in. Great lighting effects all around. We couldn’t help but think what The Big N has in store for the next Zelda title.

navigating these lush environments is made easier with the Gamepad. Touch the screen, it pauses the game. Now you can see the entire level, and search for uncharted territory. Send each character to different spots on the map to collect survival items. While the controls on the pad will do just fine, and remote play is a plus, we recommend using the Nunchuck-Remote combo. On the pad aiming and throwing Pikmin can feel off at times. This can become a major problem in a boss fight, when precision is needed. The bosses have some truly unique designs. Fighting a Spider-like creature is usually boring for me in most games. Not here. I loved seeing a massive swarm of Pikmin all scale the creatures legs, and attack anywhere they could. That goes for enemies of all shapes and sizes combat is just cool. Wish the control options were a little tighter, then I would be fully immersed.

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As expected the multiplayer modes are lots of fun. But no online. It’s 2013 Nintendo! Well, aside from that sad fact, players can team up in mission mode. Here you will gather stuff and wipe out enemies fast as you can before the time runs out. Our favorite mode is the Bingo battle. Players will compete to gather resources. Everything collected lands on the Bingo board. A fun race to victory. It’s way more fun than it sounds, so call up a friend. Overall Pikmin 3 is a fantastic looking game, that will put your brain to use. It might not be as difficult as the past two outings, but there’s still plenty here to take in. Something owners of the console would be proud to own. Finally, we can hear the gears turning, the Wii U is back! More games please.

Pikmin 3 Gets

4mf

Out of Five

What’s Legit?

+Graphics

+New Pikmin fit right in

+Bingo Battle

What’s Perpetrating?

-No Online Play

-Some control issues

Follow us @PlayLegit

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Game & Wario Review

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Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback

Game & Wario, which was released for the Nintendo Wii U, is the next game in the series of party games which Wario has become well-known for.  Nintendo has set the precedent for party games in the past, with Wario being the central star.   This time Wario is designing games himself for his company Warioware Inc. and has set out to make the best collection of games Diamond City had ever seen.  Game & Wario offers a total of sixteen mini-games, twelve of which are single player and four multiplayer titles with the option to play with up to five players.  The unique feature of the game is that it exclusively uses the Wii U game pad and has no use for any other Wii remotes.

The title does, for the most part, make good use of the capabilities of the Wii U game pad by having players tilt the game pad to guide a child through obstacles, use the stylus on the screen to follow instructions and create the best drawing, Use the buttons to create rhythmic patterns that the following players must repeat in order and add more themselves, or launch characters onto a scoring zone to compete for the most points.  Overall it follows the pattern of previous Wario games with short entertaining skits that challenge the players to compete faster, better, and more precisely than ever before.

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Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like this time around Nintendo took much care in creating the mini-games.  Some of the games are ultra fun, interactive, and quirky and several of them are just downright boring.  It leaves the player with something to be desired the entire time they are playing Sometimes you’ll just want to get past certain mini games to get to the more entertaining ones.  One of the most frustrating parts is that the title asks you to use the Wii U game pad to make precise movements that are almost impossible to achieve.  Using the Wii remotes would have been much more efficient, and has been in the past.

Overall the great Wario feel is still there with interesting artistic style, funky music, and silly sound effects.  Originally this title was supposed to be preloaded on the Wii U at launch and it was later decided that it would launch as a completely separate game.  It wasn’t even a Wario game to start with, though Nintendo decided to turn it into a Wario game once the Wii U had a launch date.  Unfortunately these disappointing facts show through as we play the game and honestly the whole thing could have been pitched from jump street and most of us would have been able to live without it.  Although it’s one of the worst Wario games I’ve ever played I can say that even for a last-minute confusing decision the game does have some entertainment value.  It wasn’t completely a loss, but it is a sad disappointment for Wario fans.  In the end the breakdown shows a game that’s too short and not enough fun, rent it don’t buy it.

Game & Wario Gets: 

2-3mf

Out of Five

What’s Legit?

+Good use of the Wii U game pad for the most part

+The humor and art style of Wario is still there

+Music and sound is good

What’s Perpetrating?

-Some of the mini games are totally boring

-The game is way too short

-Not nearly as well thought out as other titles in the series

Follow us @PlayLegit

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