The Coin Op question this week was inspired by the return of some favorites. Rare Replay for Xbox One, has been stuffed with memorable characters. Conker, certainly comes to mind. The Ratchet and Clank Reload coming to PS4 has us amped, mainly because it’s more than just a quick cash-in. Continue reading “The Coin-op Question: Which Mascots Should Return?”
The long-awaited fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series is finally here for the Nintendo Wii U. A few weeks back we reviewed the recently released Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS. Two different smash brothers for two different systems? Never in the history of mankind could we have imagined Nintendo doing such a thing, but they did and it is truly epic. There are a couple of fun perks to picking up both titles and registering them at Nintendo’s website. They will send you a double CD of the original soundtrack, and a free download code for the first DLC of character Mewtwo.
In the last 3DS review I mentioned the fighting style hadn’t changed from the original formula. This still holds true for the Wii U version except the player can choose between an array of different controller variations. Wii U gamepad, remote, Wii remote and nunchuk, classic controller, pro controller, 3DS, and Gamecube controller can all be used while playing Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. The original Gamecube controllers are by far the most fluid for me just because of how much I played SSBMelee when it released on the Gamecube. To use a GCN controller you must use an adapter that you can either buy separately, or which comes with the Super Smash Bros. For Wii U bundle. The bundle includes the game, a special edition Gamecube controller, and the adapter. If the Gamecube controller wasn’t your style, or you are playing the game for the first time, a myriad of controllers are at your fingertips. Not only is the controller type as customizable as it could possibly be, but you may also customize the button scheme and save it under your own name and avatar so that each time you play the game the controller setup is specific to you. When it comes to controls, there is nothing left to complain about.
While the modes and character lineup are nearly identical in both versions of SSB, there are some exclusive features to each. The Wii U features high-definition graphics that are by far the most crisp depth driven visuals in the series. It also allows for up to eight players simultaneously during local play. This large amount of characters on-screen limits the stage selections to just the larger stages but again, this is something we appreciate because eight players on a tiny stage would just become frustrating and the game would lose its challenge. Smash Tour, Event mode, and Special Orders are also exclusive modes to the title. Smash Tour is a board game like mode where players can gather a team of fighters to earn power ups. Special Orders helps you earn power ups through a series of challenges with Master Hand and Crazy Hand. It has also been announced that these Wii U exclusive features will also be changed slightly in later updates to the game.
Another exclusive feature of the Wii U SSB is the Amiibo toys which can be purchased separately. 12 initial Amiibos are available with a second wave coming early December. These accessory toys can be trained and personally customized however the player sees fit. When setting up your Amiibo you will choose a name and outfit for them. They can be given equipment that you acquire by unlocking it in the game. You can then train your Amiibo to learn tactics as you play. To further enhance your own fighting skills, you may also choose to fight against it, which in turn is you fighting against yourself. This creates a challenge that is unique to each player and will enhance each players skill with that character.
All 49 characters with 15 new characters are still available in this title. That will only grow larger as DLC becomes available in the coming months. In the 3DS review I talked about how impressed I was with the new options of Wii Fit Trainer and Little Mac. With a sixty-inch television and my choice of personalized control, I have come to realize some of the other new characters are just as amazing. Bowser Jr. and Robin from the Fire Emblem Awakening game. As usual in this title, the color skin of the character can be changed before the battle starts. While this usually means you can choose between a pink, brown, black, or purple outfit, for Bowser Jr. it means you can choose between an array of all the Koopa Kids. Changing your skin on Bowser Jr. actually lets you choose between Larry, Wendy, Ludwig, Iggy, Lemmy, and my favorite Morton. No matter the skin, the general fighting style for the Koopa Kids is the same. It’s nonsensical and hilarious. Bowser Jr. will shoot out of his vehicle into the air and come falling back down with his hands and feet grabbing at the air uselessly. He also has the ability to shoot a lazy canon at his opponents but if you’re too far away, it just poops out before it even reaches its destination. Robin is a more serious fighting character with a tight-knit style. Male and Female versions of Robin can be chosen by changing skins as well. Her attacks are sword or magic based, and I find this character to be useful when you are playing with people who tend to come in for the kill. She is great for standing her ground when someone is coming at her.
The stages of the game have always been just as important as the characters and there is no holding back in this version. There are 43 stages in the Wii U version ranging across all the playable characters worlds, some of which the player must unlock. Many of the newer stages are intensely interactive and all of them are stunningly beautiful. Stage Builder allows players to create personalized stages as well, so that once again, the fans past, present, and future of SSB Wii U, don’t have to hold back anything.
With the customization of characters through the Amiibo toys, stages through the Stage Builder, with the skins on certain characters, and the amount of controls you can hook up and personalize to you, there is no end in sight to the amount of fun that can be had from Super Smash Bros. For Wii U. Locally up to eight players can get in on the mayhem, meaning your whole family is able to play this through holiday get-togethers, without fighting over who is taking turns. The announcement of DLC that includes more characters and maps only makes it that much more mouth-watering. The fighting is balanced and the modes are endless. I have never seen so much effort wrapped up in a single (dare I say), perfect, package. This one is for the history books.
This Trailer of the Week is the Sonic Lost World reveal trailer! It looks like we’ll be seeing the return of some familiar faces in addition to meeting some new ones. The same goes for game play, which appears to be a combination of the traditional Sonic spin-run-jump moves plus some new sky dive and free run moves that take advantage of the 3D levels. I am definitely excited to see more! Sonic Lost World will be available for WiiU and Nintendo 3DS later this year.
BONUS TRAILER: ARMIKROG.
This claymation adventure game concept by Doug TenNapel (creator of Earthworm Jim!) looks like it will be chock full of TenNapel’s signature quirky sci-fi characters. TenNapel- teaming up with Pencil Test Studios -hopes to raise $900,00 on Kickstarter to make this game concept a reality. To find out more, visit the Kickstarter page and watch the trailer!
This Sonic the Hedgehog fan film by Blue Core Studios (also the creators of this Megaman fan film) is overall very well done for what it is. Not only is not for profit, but it is a combination of live action and 3D animation, which is rather ambitious for a small team with a smaller budget. Blue Core was even able to secure Sonic’s original English voice actor, Jaleel White (most well-known for his role as ‘Steve Urkel’), as the voice of Sonic in the film. The crew obviously had some very talented 3D modeling, texturing, and lighting artists too as the CG characters in the film blend in surprisingly well with their surroundings. The 3D animation, however, is a little sub-par. No matter how real a CG character looks, the animation is what is going to bring it to life. Fortunately, Jaleel’s voice acting brings out Sonic’s personality. He is the friendly daredevil hedgehog we know and love from the video games, comic books, and cartoons. But unlike those mediums, this film has strong dramatic undertones, which make Sonic’s cocky personality seem one-dimensional.
Like any vigilante story, there needs to be a scene where the hero suffers, or at least struggles to succeed against the enemy, to make the audience care about the character.
The live action parts of the film were also high quality overall, although few small fixes in the makeup and costumes could have made a big difference. The bright colors of some of the props and costumes may have been adhering to their cartoon counterparts, but toned down colors would have made them seem more realistic. But these are small complaints. The film brings planet Mobius to life, and the story’s cliffhanger ending leaves you wanting more. Video game elements are sprinkled in throughout- Dr. Robotnik holding a chaos emerald being one of my favorites -and there is a lovely scene that takes place in a 3D version of the Green Hill Zone. If you are a Sonic fan of any kind, definitely check out this movie. It is under twenty minutes as it is a spec film- intended to show what a live action Sonic movie could look and feel like -but hopefully there is more to come!