After watching this, some people asked what I meant about all the elements “looking like they’re from different games.” One thing that’s always irked me a bit about the New Super Mario Bros. series is the art direction. Something’s always seemed… unfocused. Old and new enemies don’t seem to follow the same design rules. Characters looks very three dimensional, but environments and backgrounds have a very flat look. Certain effects look a little too realistic to work with the rest of the world. It’s not bad design, it’s not bad art- it’s just missing that 10% that unifies things and takes them from “good” to “great.”
The biggest addition the Wii U hardware brings- aside from HD visuals- is the use of the GamePad in multiplayer. The assist mode is a neat idea, but just like everything else in the franchise’s multiplayer modes, it’s a bit uneven. The idea of helpful platforms being placed when needed it great, but in actual execution it’s a bit frustrating. Timing and placement are a little too hard for the sort of player who’s going to be attracted filling that position.
The Challenge Modes are an interesting addition we didn’t touch on in the video review. Different challenges teach you to speed run, use your jumping skills, and generally just hone your abilities. I dug it, but the one mode I’ve wanted from NSMB from the start still isn’t there: the knockout battle mode of Super Mario Bros 3. Anyone who played Florian Hufsky’s brilliant homebrew classic Super Mario War will understand how much fun a single-screen, 4-player all out battle in a Mario game can be. Here’s a video for the uninitiated:
Come on. Look at that. That’s a lot of fun. I know you can be combative in the co-op mode of NSMB, but I actually dislike that. I feel like it undermines the expectation of a co-op mode entirely and it just feels weird. Give me an actual sandbox for that kind of play.
In terms of the co-op itself, I would love to see an option to turn off collision between players and the freezing that happens when anyone gets hurt or picks up a power up. It’s not a useful indicator of anything for other players and can actually throw off their rhythm quite a bit, meaning one death often causes a chain reaction.
I wanted to make sure we had that note at the end about this not being a review of the Wii U itself or what type of Mario title we expected for a launch. I just wanted to take the game on its own. But a lot of people have commented and asked about those thing, so here you are: no, I don’t really see this as a system seller. If you know you’re getting a Wii U, this is a great game to have. If you were on the fence about the Wii U, this isn’t the game that’s going to get you into the launch lines tonight to buy one. I really wish we had something that’s a continuation of 64/Sunshine/Galaxy… or even an HD version of this year’s Mario 3D Land.
I don’t see it as a great way to show off the GamePad or the hardware of the Wii U. In his first draft of the review Miguel called it a “system justifier,” which I think is more accurate. Once I was sat down in front of it, I had fun. Of course I did, it’s a Mario game. But you had to put it front of me. I didn’t go running after it. I don’t think that’s a problem for Nintendo based on those launch lines and backorder queues, but there are those of us out there that are still scratching our heads over the Wii U- and New Super Mario Bros. U won’t help that.
Halo 4 has arrived, and with it comes our review. Does 343 Industries fill the huge shoes of Bungie and set the stage for a new trilogy of games?
Dishonored has finally arrived. You play as Corvo Atano, an assassin seeking revenge against a corrupt government. Sporting a unique visual style, a compelling story, and multiple gameplay options, it could be one of the best games of the year. Is it?
This game is… not great.
Man, Joe Danger is fun. Take the physics-based racing of Trials, the insane platforming of a Mario game, and the creation and sharing tools of LittleBigPlanet, and you’ve got pretty much the most fun thing I can think of.
Since this review a PS3 special edition of the game with bonus content was released. So, I mean… now you have zero reasons for not buying it.
Look, the first Borderlands game was straight up bad on the PC. It was a prime example of the laziest sort of console porting. Thankfully, Borderlands 2 fixes all that and even becomes the best way to play the game.
Man, Borderlands 2 was such a big improvement over the first. Maybe not in terms of gameplay- the tweaks and fixes were incremental. The thing that made this one grab me over the first was the attention to characters, plot, and the world. I was interested in Pandora and the people there, and there was a real story instead of an endless set of mindless waypoints.
The dialogue is the real star, though. Anthony Burch delivered on the comedic and intense promise of the first game’s marketing campaign and design and wrote one of- if not THE- funniest game I’ve ever played.
There is something beautiful about Mark of the Ninja, and I’m not just talking about Klei’s usual lovely hand-drawn art style. Every bit of this 2D stealth action game is perfectly designed and crafted.
Stealth is a genre that can be confusing and more than a little unfair to the player when done wrong: bad AI and unclear rules of vision and perception can lead to nothing but frustration. Mark of the Ninja’s clever visual cues that show audible sounds and visibility remove all that ambiguity and let you enjoy being sneaky and clever.
One of my favorites of the year, and since this review it’s been released on PC. Definitely pick it up.
Man, I loved this game. I don’t normally get into the open world thing but Sleeping Dogs did everything right in terms of character, story, atmosphere, and- most importantly- gameplay. The hand-to-hand combat is rivaled only by Arkham City, the shooting is great, the free running felt good… it was just an awesome, awesome game. One of my favorites of the year for sure.
Tony Hawk is back with an HD remake of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2. Does the game bring back fond memories, or are some classic games better left untouched? Watch our review to find out!
GAME: Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD
PLATFORMS: XBLA (Reviewed), PSN, PC
PRICE: $15 (XBLA)
Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD combines 7 levels from THPS 1 and 2 into one single package. With brand new graphics, but the same classic controls, the game is a must-have for any fans of the original, as well as anyone looking to get into a classic, technical skating game.