Mother 3 Review

Mother 3

The legendary Mother 3 is known for never coming out in the US. Nintendo may never release it, but dedicated fans have translated this turn based RPG into English for anyone with an emulator. After completing Mother 3 I was left with a whirlwind of emotions. The emotion most prominent was anger because Mother 3 is one of the greatest RPGs ever made and Nintendo not releasing it in America is a disservice to the history of Video Games.

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Mother 3 opens with the disappearance of mother Hinawa and her two children Lucas and Claus. Their father, Flint goes searching for his family near their home on the Nowhere Islands. The Village of Tazmily is unique with the whole town living harmoniously with the earth and living selflessly. Everyone is kind to each other and extremely polite. This completely changes while Flint goes into the woods North of the village searching for his family. Strange men in Pigmasks set the woods on fire and begin to introduce many new concepts to Tazmily Village. The pigmasks introduce money, which therefore creates both greed and crime. Each chapter of Mother 3 stars a different character until Lucas takes over as the main character. Each new character offers a unique perspective on the ongoing change of the world around them. Eventually, Lucas and a group of misfits go against the modernized corrupted world around them and seek a way to stop the leader of the Pigmask Army (Who ties the series together.) Mother 3’s story is a roller coaster of emotions as the game explores the worth of happiness.

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The gameplay is very similar to the previous game Earthbound (Mother 2). It is a turn based RPG that has a few unique twists. The health points are on a countdown so even if you take mortal damage you can still make actions or heal yourself as your health points deplete. You can also tap to the music during battles to perform combos. With the soundtrack in Mother 3 being as great as it is, this mechanic is tons of fun as you try to find each enemy’s unique beat. Each enemy is bizarre and unique just like Earthbound (Looking at you Jealous Upright Double Bass!) and the Mother series’ signature Psychodelic backdrops. It creates an experience unlike any other as you travel to many diverse locations from the crumbling ruins of a castle to the futuristic town of New Pork City.

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The presentation is excellent with Mother 3 easily being the most beautiful Game Boy Advance game ever. The art style is timeless and the animation is top notch. Special kudos go out to the translation team for the English writing and script. It is heartfelt, hilarious, and every word keeps the player invested with this wacky group of characters.

Mother 3 is a lost classic that has found new life thanks to some dedicated fans. Mother 3 constantly keeps the player on their toes with amazing writing, active combat, and a colorful presentation that is oozing with personality. Nintendo better give Mother 3 a chance in the West because many gamers are missing out on this timeless classic.

Final Score: 9.8/10

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Review: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.

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Every 7-8 years high lord Sakurai blesses us with a fighting game that doesn’t hold back. From polished gameplay to an overwhelming number of gameplay modes to a plethora of fan service, Nintendo’s mascot fighter is back. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time for Smash Bros.

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Smash Bros. on 3DS raised a lot of eyebrows when it was first announced since it will be the first time we can smash on the go and for the most part it doesn’t disappoint. With a staggering 51 characters this iteration of Smash Bros. has easily the largest roster with many of the newcomers proving their worth. The 31 stages however, don’t have the same impact with many stages returning from past games and the new stages are dull in design. Luckily, the competitive Smash Bros. scene has left it’s mark on Sakurai since every stage has it’s own “Final Destination” version for more competitive play.

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The game modes have also been tweaked for the 3DS hardware. The main attraction this time around is “Smash Run,” a 5 minute rush through a massive level grabbing stat boosts to prepare yourself for a final showdown. Unfortunately, this mode is a novelty at best with the big finale being only a minute long rendering the previous 5 minutes pointless. Classic mode returns with an overworld map similar to the “Find Mii” minigame on the 3DS. All-Star mode is here as well with a unique twist where the player smashes through each character based on the year they were created. Customization is now much larger than it was in Brawl with the ability to change character’s stats and special moves. This goes one step further with the inclusion of Mii’s for complete customization. These new options can make fights pretty hectic if Bowser is running faster than Sonic and Jigglypuff hits like a truck on steroids.

Upon first glance gameplay is pretty solid with the thought of “Yup. It’s Smash.” running through your head. Dig a little deeper and the flaws begin to surface. The game itself doesn’t have any flaws gameplay-wise, but instead the 3DS hardware is the main problem. The circle pad on the 3DS isn’t as precise as the accepted smash controller (Gamecube) and can lead to some frustrating moments of “That’s not what I meant to do!” as you play. The game’s camera doesn’t do any favors either with it pulling out so far sometimes that you can easily lose the small dot that resembles your character on screen. When these issues are absent Smash Bros. is Smash Bros. You will beat the daylight out of other Nintendo Mascots with a massive grin on your face as the game runs smoothly at 60 fps.

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To many Smash Bros. is a multiplayer fighting game and this is where Smash Bros. on 3DS falls apart. Couch multiplayer is still accessible with local wifi, but the lag is unbearable at times. It happens so frequently that the game becomes unplayable. Things only get worst when you go into full online matches. Their heart is in the right place with online modes emphasizing party play as well as competitive play, but the lag on this precision fighting game ruins everything. This was a problem 7 years ago with Brawl’s multiplayer on the Wii, but the fact that 7 years later the online functionality is just as bad is unacceptable. With so many issues plaguing Smash Bros. multiplayer I can’t imagine this game having the same longevity as previous games in the series.

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Smash Bros. for 3DS is good, but it should be great. Hardware limitations and poor online hold it back from reaching the heights of previous installments. When it works Smash Bros. is a blast and will put a massive grin on your face. Even with the flaws Smash Bros. is still Smash Bros. and shouldn’t be missed by any 3DS owner.

Design: 7/10
Gameplay: 8.4/10
Presentation: 9.0/10

Final Score: 8.1/10

Top 10 Greatest Title Screens in Video games

Title Screens are our first impression of many video games past and present. A successful title screen succeeds on the merits of mood, atmosphere, music, and/or relevance to the game you’re playing. The best title screens incorporate all of these features and stand high above their contemporaries. We do have to note that this is strictly limited to title screens and not actual game menus such as Conker’s Bad Fur Day’s bar scene. With that aside, these are the top 10 video game title screens that hypnotized us from pressing the start button.

10. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

The Title Screen for Xenoblade Chronicles tells us so much using so little. The somber theme overlays a beautiful backdrop complimenting it perfectly. The Monado in the grass with no game title as the wind blows delivers a pure minimalist experience. Those who beat the game would leave this title screen on repeat with their jaw on the floor. Xenoblade Chronicles’ title screen is simple, clean, and incredibly effective.

9. Mirror’s Edge (Multiplatform)

The atmosphere accomplished in the Mirror’s Edge is like a breath of fresh air. The white city backdrop shows us the playground before us, while the calming electronica music soothes us into the not so distant future. The title screen invited us to this world and most people let go of any skepticism they had and dove right into Mirror’s Edge.

8. Mass Effect 3 (Multiplatform)

The second you booted up mass Effect 3 you knew this was it. The orchestral theme complimented the feeling of awe most players felt watching their beloved Earth slowly get invaded by the Reapers. Many questions raced through our heads as this title screen played out. Who was alive? What could we do to stop it? Is the ending as shit as everyone says it is? With the success of the previous Mass Effect games this title screen firmly cemented the scary fact that players scrubbed from their minds. THIS IS THE END.

7 Metroid Prime (Gamecube/Wii)

What sells the title screen of Metroid Prime isn’t the creepy parasite-esque images, or the fading film filter…It’s the music. The music sets the unsettling mood of Metroid Prime with its mix of electronics and feedback. The Music is so sci-fi creepy that many players were terrified to press start. It is one of the most uncomfortable and effective title screens. Thank you Retro for sending chills down my spine.

6. The Legend of Zelda Windwaker (Gamecube, HD Remake on WiiU)

It is nearly impossible to not whistle the tune of Windwaker as the title screen begins. Giving us a tour of Link’s home island, Windwaker immediately paints a vivid picture of the flooded world of Hyrule. It prepares our sea legs as we zoom over the vast ocean before us, providing a sense of great adventure. Any prejudice towards toon Link was gone the second Windwaker’s title screen began. *Whistles*

5. Spec Ops the Line (Multiplatform)

A destroyed city, a massive sandstorm, a tattered upside down American Flag…Welcome to Spec Ops. The title screen’s iconic imagery accompanied by the loudspeaker Star Spangled banner proved Spec Ops wasn’t just another military shooter. The electric guitar licked through the National Anthem as the wind blew leaving players with an incredibly valid question “WTF AM I GETTING IN TO HERE?” Spec Ops’ title screen was an inviting welcome to a game that changed the way people perceive narrative within military shooters.

4. Braid (Multiplatform)

Braid’s “Not-so” Title Screen is easily one of the best. With no start button many players realize that you can actually move Tim on the title screen. Silhouetted by the fires behind him, Tim moves to the right into the last remaining house at the beginning of the game. This title screen allowed players to open their minds to this puzzle platforming masterpiece. The contrast between the actual game and its title screen showed that Braid’s narrative was much deeper than players initially thought.

3. Halo (Multiplatform)

If this title screen didn’t pump you up then you have no soul. Now lets listen to this on repeat for 3 hours then go punch buildings!

2. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

An iconic title screen, Super Mario 64 allows players to morph Mario’s face at their will, while jamming to the toe tapping new music. This title screen was our first true glimpse at 3D Mario and it easily brought a massive fully-teethed smile to our faces.

1. Super Metroid (SNES)

Ceres Station is under attack. The scientists bodies lie dead on the floor. A single Metroid Larva is incased in the center. Eerie sci-fi music sets the scene. Super Metroid’s title screen is flawless. The music sets the horrific tone of loneliness, the images are terrifying, and the mystery surrounding the attack is ever present. Super Metroid’s title screen set a bar in 1994 that will never be reached. Some title screens may be fantastic and incredible, but they still don’t come anywhere close to the masterpiece known as Super Metroid’s Title Screen.

Top 5 Smash Challengers

With many gamers anticipating the next Smash Bros. game we’ve compiled the top 5 MUST HAVE characters we want in the next Smash Bros. game. We had trouble coming up with 10 characters since our Super Smash challengers can’t be clones or lame inclusions (like a koopa or something.) Here’s our Top 5 Smash Challengers!

5) Shulk (Xenoblade Chronicles)

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To start our list is Xenoblade’s main protagonist, Shulk. Wielding the legendary Monado Shulk could be used as not only a great swordsman, but also as a great ranged caster. The Monado’s powers can also allow Shulk to defend himself with special shields and buffs adding more RPG elements to Smash Bros. His final smash could be his signature Buster attack attacking all enemies in a line.

4) Bayonetta

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Forget the fact that this scandalous witch is a little too mature for Nintendo’s taste. Bayonetta’s skill set will dominate her opponents. With her flexibility and dual pistols Bayonetta could unleash hell on other smashers with acrobatic moves and gun play. Her final smash could be one of her classic “Torture Attacks.” Of course she’ll also have her lollipop.

3) Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

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With the keyblade for melee attacks and different types of magic for ranged, Sora from Kingdom Hearts is a no-brainer.  Different abilities could be Sora’s glide ability, his guard break could break through shields, and magic that could be cycled between fire, ice, and thunder. His final smash would easily be his Valor form where Sora wields two keyblades.

2) Chrom (Fire Emblem Awakening)

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Chrom and his trusty Falchion need to be in the new Smash Bros. With his epic sword play and overall badassness, Chrom is a much better choice currently than longtime smash mainstay, Marth. Chrom’s dual-strike can inflict double damage to his opponents and his bow breaker could allow Chrom to dodge projectiles. His Final Smash could be his Rightful King Ability buffing all of his other moves as well as movement speed.

1) Banjo Kazooie 

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As a smash character the inclusion of Banjo Kazooie is the most obvious. Banjo handles the close quarters melee, while Kazooie can shoot eggs and handle ranged attacks. Kazooie would also allow for short term flight and great anti-air play. Banjo Kazooie’s final smash would be accomplished with the help of Mumbo transforming the enemies into weak animals that Banjo can easily pick off. If only Microsoft didn’t own the rights…sigh =/

The Top Video Game Headlines of 2014 (Before they happen.)

Now that the new year is upon us we’re predicting what we think the big headlines of the video game year will be. Now some of these may seem completely outrageous, but we here at the Game Jam know we’re pulling all of these out of our ass anyway. So lets look back at 2014…the year that was.

3DS is the 2014 Console of Choice.

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Nintendo’s handheld dominance continues for the second year in a row with huge hits such as Bravely Default, Yoshi’s New Island, and Super Smash Bros. The 3DS easily reaches the 50 million sold milestone and celebrates by releasing even more Streetpass games as Streetpass becomes a major part of Gaming culture.

The Ps3 has better releases than the PS4 in 2014

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In a twist of fate all the major Fall releases for the PS4 have been delayed to Q1 of 2015 including The Order 1886, Witcher 3, The Division, etc. This allows the PS3 to have one final hurrah with Tales of Xillia 2, Persona 5, and other huge names taking the spotlight from Sony’s new console.

The Vita gets another price drop and people still don’t buy it.

This isn’t really news or a prediction…

Xbox One Recovers in late 2014 after Microsoft Announces a cheaper model without the Kinect.

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After the launch of the sub-par Xbox One. Microsoft remains quiet in terms of marketing (Except for Titanfall) until E3 when they unveil an upgraded Xbox One without the Kinect bundled with Titanfall (Or the New Halo). This cheaper model becomes a massive success with an impressive Fall games line-up to back it up.

Capcom has another dismal year after failing to connect with any audience.

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Capcom’s woes continue as Resident Evil 7 bombs after choosing to star Alice (from the films) as a desperate attempt to attract a new audience. Also, still no Mega Man.

Every single game in the history of ever gets a $60 re-release for PS4 and Xbox One under the title of “Definitive Edition.”

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Fuck You Lara Croft.

Nintendo Puts Older Pokemon Games on the WiiU and 3DS Eshop.

This isn’t much of a prediction as it is a wet dream.

The WiiU’s sales turn around after the release of Super Smash Bros. 

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Super Smash Bros. becomes the system seller for the WiiU bringing Nintendo back as a major contender. Super Smash also gains a huge following in the fighting community when the game headlines the 2014 EVO tournament.

Game Jam writer Alex Eich is hospitalized during E3 after having a 10 hour erection following the announcement of Knack 2.

It could happen…

 

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2014

It’s a new year with new consoles out to prove what they can do. PS4 and Xbox One are looking to hit their stride with great looking games on the horizon. Nintendo is coming off a strong year for 3DS and have even more great games to keep that handheld held in our hands. WiiU may have struggled in 2013, but with a solid library now established Nintendo’s little console might have a huge year with many first-party games within our grasp. Lets also not forget PC gaming, which is still leading the indie boom and maintaining it’s digital dominance on the industry. The Hype train is leaving the station and these are our top 10 most anticipated games of 2014.

10. Watch Dogs

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(Release Date: Q2 2014)

Ubisoft’s third-person hacker game hits a soft-spot with me (I’m from Chicago), but it barely makes the top 10. Watch Dogs still has a ton of hype going for it since it looks amazing, but with an over-saturation of gameplay trailers and a painful delay of at least 7 months Watch Dogs has built a solid shelter to live in within the back of our minds till June. We hope it was worth it Ubisoft.

9. South Park The Stick of Truth

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(Release Date: March 4th, 2014)

Like Watch Dogs above South Park’s constant delays have us a little worried for the Obsidian RPG. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are keeping our hopes up, but as of right now the best thing they can do is to finally release this long awaited game…and give us more Randy.

8. Elder Scrolls Online

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(Release Date: April 4th for PC)

It’s Elder Scrolls…BUT ONLINE. From what we’ve played and seen so far the game is a solid entry within the MMO genre. The Elder Scrolls mainstays are still there with a great sense of exploration within a realized world. Just please no more arrow to the knee jokes.

7. Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

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(Release Date: Q2 2014)

What is arguably the best looking next gen title has the Game jam writers flipping tables. This third chapter in the acclaimed RPG series looks stunning and even more hardcore than Assassins of Kings. The life of a Witcher is tough, but we’ll do anything to be in the soggy boots of Geralt of Rivia once more.

6. Bravely Default

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(Release Date: February 7th )

The name may say “Bravely Default” but this JRPG screams “Final Fantasy IV.” With job classes, a high risk/reward gameplay system, and beautiful art Bravely Default is the JRPG you’ve been waiting for. It is also out as a demo on the 3DS Eshop right now!

5. Child of Light

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(Release Date: Late 2014)

This JRPG…from Canada looks fantastic even if it’s a drastic change from this team’s last game Far Cry 3. The childish art direction blends beautifully with the game’s tone and gameplay. It makes us throw our money at the screen more than any other Ubisoft game coming out this year.

4. Super Smash Bros. WiiU/3DS

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(Release Date: Whenever Nintendo Wants To.)

With each character reveal and update Super Smash Bros. changes more and more from “I want that game” to “I NEED THAT GAME.” Did the fans want the Wii Fit Trainer? Probably not, but we all know we will kick ass with her. The Villiger from Animal Crossing looks like the sadistic bastard we’ve always wanted with mega Man and Rosalina adding even more fresh ideas to this popular party game.

3. Persona 5

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(Release Date: Late 2014)

All we know is that there are 5 chairs and 5 chains attached. The screen reads “You are slave. Want Emancipation?” followed by the title Persona 5. This is all we know about Atlus’ upcoming entry in the hit JRPG series…and somehow we have massive boners already.

2. Titanfall

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(Release Date: March 11th)

Many gamers are writing this game off as another dumb “Bro” FPS and boy, they couldn’t be more wrong. Out of all the games at E3 2013 Titanfall was the only one to melt faces off. The game not only looks next gen, but also was the only game we walked out of thinking “That gameplay was next gen.” March 11th can’t come soon enough for any lover of FPS’s, mech combat, parkour, jetpacks, and high octane multiplayer. (Note: If you’re not sold on Jetpacks anyway you don’t have a soul.)

1. Dark Souls II

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(Release Date: March 11th)

The logical choice, of course is Dark Souls II. FromSoftware’s brutal 2011 RPG Dark Souls is still being talked about three years later. The game is now less confusing, but that doesn’t mean it is any less punishing. Dark Souls II will burn you with hot wax, gag you, whip you with no mercy, and make you wish video games had a safe word. Dark Souls II is easily our most anticipated game of 2014 as well as the only game to make us cry out “Pineapple!!!” at the top of our lungs. Bring it on Lordran…we’re prepared to die…again.