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.

Mother 3 Dragos

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.

Mother 3 Sunflower

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.

Mother 3 Battle

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 =/

NES Remix Review

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With many of Nintendo’s popular franchises being based on nostalgia it is no surprise that Nintendo has grouped these 80’s classics into a bundle of mini-challenges. While it is great to see some sparks of greatness with Nintendo modding their own games, it is unfortunate that even nostalgia can’t keep NES Remix from being a horrible game.

NES Remix is simple enough. The player chooses a game and challenge from the main menu and has either a certain amount of time or lives to complete said challenge. For example one challenge has Mario trying to beat Koopas within a time limit as the screen zooms out or Link must kill Moblins without taking damage. When the challenge is finished the player gets scored by a three star system based on the completion time similar to Angry Birds. They also get points to unlock more stamps for Miiverse. The main issue is that the game is insulting in terms of challenge. The skill level required to complete some challenges are designed for toddlers, such as Link having to find the wooden sword on the first screen of Zelda. I understand that it is Nintendo’s way of introducing a newer generation to NES games…but the entire game feels like a tutorial for infants. What’s more insulting is that each game within NES Remix has an E-shop button, which shows the true intent of this game…BUY THE ORIGINALS. NES Remix isn’t a challenging trip of nostalgia for long time fans…it’s a cash grab for young children who have their parent’s credit card hooked up.

Seriously that's it... Take the Sword.

Seriously that’s it…
Take the Sword.

The game’s only sense of challenge is getting used the physics of each game. After that it’s a total cakewalk. Even the modded “Remix” levels are insultingly lazy with many challenges having a different color swap, or they mirror a Mario level. NES Remix is so lazy that they were better off just having a start button that links to the E-Shop page for each game. What’s worse is that any joy of finding secrets in say a Mario or Zelda challenge is gone when Nintendo Failed me for using the Warp Zone in World 1-2…WHAT THE HELL!? With every challenge’s score based on time it sometimes becomes confusing why you didn’t achieve all three stars. Especially when the challenge didn’t have a time element to begin with.

Modding=...Spotlight on Mario.

Modding=…Spotlight on Mario.

With amazing NES mods such as Super Mario Crossover available for free on the internet it is easy to pass on the $15 NES Remix. With it’s incredibly lazy design, E-Shop pressure, and lack of any challenge NES Remix is a failed experiment for nostalgic fans. You are better off just emulating these games on your laptop for free.

Final Score: 4.4/10

Let’s Talk About Nintendo Ep.1: WHAT?

In EuroGamer recently, an anonymous developer talked about his experience working with the WiiU. The article is fascinating detailing the development of the WiiU and why the console has been doing poorly in terms of sales. While the reasons behind the WiiU’s struggles is obvious( the lack of third party support, lack of compelling games, poor name choice, poor marketing, etc.) the developer throws a zinger by explaining that Nintendo was basically unfamiliar  with PSN and Xbox Live. This startling fact explains the 1gb update that aggravated fans when they purchased the console at launch. Nintendo wasn’t planning on implementing an online feature until it was nearly too late.

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With PSN, Steam, and Xbox Live dominating modern gaming it was a shock to see Nintendo so far behind the times in terms of online functionality. This was the main reason Nintendo is struggling with third party support. Considering most third party games have features strongly integrated with online and multiplayer systems, Nintendo looks stupid making a console without online support. Why would anyone in this modern age of DLC, Patches, early access, and digital downloads even consider developing for a console that lacks these features.

MiiVerse should've been huge...

MiiVerse should’ve been huge…

It is well-known now that the WiiU is becoming a NintendoBox that only plays Nintendo games and judging by the console’s processing power that things will stay that way. According to the anonymous developer, Nintendo made the WiiU less powerful to make sure that the console was quiet in the living room environment (Excuse me while I Facepalm myself). This creates an awful situation for Nintendo since the next-gen PS4 and Xbox One consoles don’t make any noise whatsoever. The other issue is the fact that it is almost guaranteed that Nintendo’s WiiU will not receive any ports of next-gen games. With a processing power that would make Ps3 and 360 games difficult to run Nintendo has backed themselves right back into the vacuum they came from.

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Seeing Iwata’s optimistic smile in Nintendo Directs has become uncomfortable knowing that the smile is a genuine attempt that the WiiU is still successful. Depending on the context the console still could be if Nintendo brought amazing games with that Mario magic that saved them again and again. I know we will get great games for the WiiU and we will love them dearly (I mean just look how great the new Mario is.), but as of right now the WiiU is still not a must buy. Not only confusing the casual buyers of the Wii, the third party developers, and the fans, Nintendo has confused themselves with their lack of knowledge about the state of modern gaming. I personally hope that Nintendo gets things together, but if this article says anything about the inner workings of the famed company…Nintendo is in big trouble.