“The Legend of Zelda Wii U” Is My Most Anticipated Game of 2016

As any human being I like to be excited about something. I like to be excited about games in particular. Why? It’s simple, because I want to know that there are more unexplored horizons out there to look forward to, new worlds to be discovered and new characters to meet. But sometimes a game pops-up that overshadows all the others in that aspiration. And this time, it’s “Legend of Zelda” for Wii U.

There are a number of reasons of why it is my favorite amidst the games that are yet to be released. Besides the fact that amongst upcoming titles it can be considered an underdog, a David to Microsoft’s and Sony’s Goliath. Which is admirable and why Nintendo deserves some praise at least for that alone.

But besides that, the first major point for my excitement for this game is that at this moment Wii U doesn’t have big AAA-titles coming out this year. Unlike its peers PS4 and Xbox One who have a number of projects, like Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid V that are set to arrive over next 6 months. So Nintendo is going to need a sure hit if they want to catch up to their big brothers. And this is not from pure cheapskate standpoint, but from the perspective of a person that wants the game to be polished in all areas. So the end result must not only be what might be considered “a good game” and have a certain commercial success, but one alongside of “Super Mario 3d World” or “Bayonetta 2”, that will be considered one of the best games on Wii U and in history of Nintendo in general.

zelda 02

Keeping in mind mentioned above, “Legend of Zelda” must also be pretty, to say the least. And if the E3 2014 demo is any indication than the game surely delivers on that front already. With high-definition textures that incorporate cel-shading graphics which will not only look great, but will also age incredibly well. Just look at 2013 “Wind Waker HD” and how tall it stands over other video games released back in 2002. We all know that Wii U is the weakest of all current-gen platforms, but till this point it didn’t stop the games on it look positively gorgeous and perform extremely well, like the aforementioned Bayonetta.

And the last part is the fact that it is an open-world game. Don’t get me wrong, there is no problem with linearity if it is implemented right, but “Zelda” series has already done that and they’ve done semi open-world, so it’s natural for them to progress even further, giving the players the freedom to tackle each dungeon, puzzle and objective in their own way. It has also been stated by the producer Eiji Aonuma that the developers are “rethinking the conventions of Zelda” to bring something new to this senior franchise. And considering that the man has been involved in the development of the games in this series for over 16 years, I’m inclined to trust him on this one and see where this line of thinking leads.

zelda 03

Summing it all up together and a very peculiar picture is starting to exude. A game with such ageless and beautiful graphic-style, an interesting world to explore and improved Zelda-mechanics that has proved to be relevant for such a long time are the reasons why I think I’ll put my money on this particular title being successful not only commercially, but also being one, if not the most relevant project of 2016.

Here’s 35 Minutes Of Never Alone Foxtales Gameplay

Earlier this week E-Line Media released a small DLC pack for their award winning 2014 puzzle platformer Never Alone titled Foxtales, the two heroes, Nuna and Fox, make their return for three additional levels and a new story.

Nuna and Fox must cross open seas, swim through the ruins of a sunken village and paddle up the Noatak River on a mission to rescue a new friend and defeat a new foe.

Below you can check out 35 minutes of Never Alone Foxtales.

Never Alone was originally released for PC, Xbox One and PS4 in November, 2014 and released soon afterwards on Mac, Wii U and the Nvidia Shield.

Foxtales is available now for download on Xbox One, PS4, PC and Mac. There were no announcement as to when or if Foxtales would be released on Wii U and the Nvidia Shield.

5 Reasons Why the Wii U Was A Complete Failure

The Wii U is dead. With only a handful of titles left in the 2015 roster for Nintendo, and with reports coming in that the NX may be releasing as early as summer of 2016, it’s pretty clear where Nintendo’s priorities lie. They are abandoning the Wii U and moving on to the NX, after just a few short years of being on the market. Sure, the higher ups at Nintendo claim that they aren’t abandoning Wii U support – even after the NX comes out. But they said the same thing about the Wii, didn’t they?

Let’s face it: Nintendo haven’t experienced a failure of this magnitude since the Virtual Boy. So inquiring minds would like to know: what killed the Wii U?

1. Obsolete ‘tablet’ controller

Miyamoto himself recently admitted that the Wii U’s primary feature – the touchscreen on the controller – was too little, too late. “Unfortunately the Wii system launched at a time where the uniqueness of [tablets] were perhaps not as strong as they were when we had first begun develop[ment]”, said the legendary Nintendo luminary.

There are a huge number of tablet-like devices on the market that, by including tablet features to the Wii U’s controller, are placed in direct competition with the console. What’s more, the capabilities of say an iPad far exceed that of a Wii U controller. So the Wii U was released in an already over-saturated marketplace as a subpar product that has almost none of the features consumers want from a tablet device. If you take the Wii U controller more than ten to fifteen feet away from the system, it cannot even function. Some ‘tablet’ technology!

In short: the tablet controller is a gimmick that people don’t want or need. Unlike the equally gimmicky Wii itself, which provided a unique novelty in its motion sensor tech, the Wii U has no competitive edge or unique feature to distinguish it from its competitors.

2. Zero third party support

It was very early on in the Wii U’s lifespan that third party developers and publishers decided they wouldn’t be making games for the new Nintendo console. It’s just simply too expensive to port games for the Wii U, due to the huge differences between the system hierarchies and structures of say, the XBox and the Wii U. And according to this recent article, it seems the NX is unlikely to see much third party support itself.

Nintendo have always tried to maintain a certain standard for their proprietary games. This is good in many respects: but the unintended downside is that, once third party support goes away, the number of releases for the Nintendo console slow to a trickle. Nintendo can’t keep up with the PS4 or the XBone if they continue to either a) design difficult to port consoles or b) release games so very slowly. Third party support is important, because many console gamers only want to own one console (due to the obvious expense of buying more than one). Releasing a Mario Kart/Smash Bros machine without an option for third party support may have not been the smartest financial decision.

3. Overshadowed by the 3DS

The 3DS is an incredible handheld console – so great, in fact, that it completely overshadows its big brother. The 3DS is extremely popular in the US, Europe, and Asia – which turned out to be a curse in disguise, at least for the fate of the Wii U. One of the Wii U’s biggest sellers, Smash Bros, is available for both systems. Many of the virtual console games are, as well. Considering you only miss out on one or two big name titles, who wouldn’t take the 3DS over the Wii U any day – considering it’s around $100 cheaper? Also, as I mentioned before, Nintendo have overburdened themselves by having to be the sole developer for both 3DS and Wii U games. This has just exacerbated the issue of their being too few games for the Wii U.

4. Not enough new games worth playing

When the new Metroid spinoff was unveiled, a huge majority of Nintendo fans were furious. But the rage this boneheaded move incurred was only so fervent due to the lack of flagship Nintendo games for Wii U.

The Wii U was in desperate need of some proprietary ‘killer app’ games; new banner titles in any of the Nintendo franchises we all love. What we got instead were a handful of spin-offs, remakes, and novelty games with beloved series titles slapped on to cynically shift units. With Star Fox: Zero looking empty, graphically unimpressive, and boring, that only leaves the much heralded Zelda title to keep Nintendo fans interested in the console…and it was recently announced that the game that was once called Zelda: Wii U will now – much like Twilight Princess before it – be cross-console with the NX. Who would buy the Wii U version when the NX version will likely be graphically superior? Once again, Nintendo has made a decision that cripples the potential for the Wii U to build up steam.

 

Spin-offs and novelty titles aren’t what gamers want from Nintendo! Hyrule Warriors was a decent game, don’t get me wrong – as was Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. And Mario Maker also looks like it’ll be a hoot and a half. But none of these games, despite their titles and characters, are true Wii U versions of their respective franchises. The only game released for the Wii U featuring a big Nintendo franchise name that felt like a true, flagship game, was Super Mario 3D World. One game, released in 2013. That’s the extent of the Wii U’s library of big Nintendo-made games, unless you count Smash Bros which itself is – despite being amazingly fun and jam packed with content – is arguably little more than a spin-off.

5. A terrible virtual console

For my money, this was the biggest blunder in a long list of mistakes made by Nintendo. Why are there so few quality Virtual Console games for the Wii U? One of the biggest things Nintendo has going for it is its long history of classic titles. Why are they being so stingy with porting them for their first HD console? Maybe they’re planning to ‘remaster’ every single one of their classic Nintendo 64, Gamecube, and SNES games for a cheap profit sometime soon. I hope to God that isn’t the case.

Sure, we got a handful of ports. Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and even Super Metroid. In the SNES department, we were also glad to get a chance to revisit Mega Man, Street Fighter, and Donkey Kong Country. But the SNES had one of the best libraries of any console – especially in the RPG department. Where in the hell is Final Fantasy VI? Or Chrono Trigger? Or Star Ocean, Breath of Fire, Paladin’s Quest, etc?

Or, moving away from Square/Enix games or RPGs, why are there only 5 N64 games available? Or, for that matter, zero Gamecube games available?

I’d bet that if the Wii U had featured a more robust back catalogue of classic titles that were upscaled for HD TVs, the console would have been much more popular. Sure, if you’re tech savvy enough you can mod the Wii U to do just that. But for those of us not so technologically inclined, why aren’t there more classic Nintendo games to play on their fancy ‘new’ console? It just doesn’t make sense.

 

There you have it – 5 reasons why I think the Wii U failed horribly. If you think of any more reasons, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Side-scroller Snoopy’s Grand Adventure Release Date Announced

Activision has recently announced a Snoopy game based on The Peanuts Movie called The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure and they have announced its release date. Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on November 6. Weirdly enough, the game won’t be featured on the PS3.

The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is developed by Behaviour Interactive and published by Activision. The game’s description reads:

“In The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure, Snoopy explores the fantastical worlds of his imagination to track down Charlie Brown and his friends in an intricate game of hide-and-seek. As he follows their trails, Snoopy will acquire new costumes (based on his many alter egos) that provide unique abilities for overcoming obstacles and reaching new levels, including flight stages that let him take off as the Flying Ace. From the jungle to Paris to the moon itself, each environment is painted gorgeously in the same visual style as The Peanuts Movie to bring to life every colorful detail of Snoopy’s wild daydreams.”

They also released a trailer of the game and there is some special costumes that grant the beloved character, Snoopy, with the ability to fly while others just make him look good.

The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is launching on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on November 6. ( Credit: Videogamer )

Binding of Isaac Rebirth Xbox One, 3DS, Wii U Release Date Announced

Isaac Rebirth

Nicalis Inc., the developer behind the hit dungeon crawler The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, have announced officially though its twitter that the game will be coming “to Xbox One, Wii U and new 3DS in North America July 23rd!”.

The game was released on November 4 for the PS4 and PC and since then the developer promised an Xbox One, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS release. There was some controversy around whether Nintendo’s platforms will be getting a complete version of the game or a cut version but it has been confirmed that it will be getting a normal complete version of the game.

The announcement came with a picture showing the game’s layout on a 3DS device.

Isaac Rebirth

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth will release on July 23rd for the Xbox One, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

Check Out The Latest Rodea The Sky Soldier Gameplay Trailer

The Sky Soldier

The Sky Soldier

NIS America, subsidiary of Nippon Ichi Software, Inc., has released a new gameplay trailer for the upcoming Wii U/3DS game Rodea: The Sky Soldier.

The game takes place in Garuda, a kingdom that lies in the sky, 1,000 years after an Emperor by the name of Geardo of the Naga Empire sent an army of machine soldiers to invade. Princess Cecilia and Rodea, a machine soldier who promised to protect Garuda, defeated Emperor Geardo’s assault and saved their kingdom.

In the present timeline a young female inventor named Ion discovers Rodea, abandoned and in need of repairs, in the heart of a scorching desert. Upon completing her repairs Rodea boots back up is stunned to find himself in the future and learns that the Naga Empire is no more and that Garuda has known peace for 1,000 years.

Soon the forces of Naga emerges once again to wage war against Garuda. Remembering the promise he made 1,000 years ago, Rodea takes to the skies to defend Garuda from the Naga Empire once again.

Rodea the Sky Soldier is set to release in North America on October 13, 2015 and Europe on October 16, 2015 for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. First print copies of the Wii U version will also come packaged with the Wii version of the game.

Super Mario Sunshine Needs a Remake

Super Mario

Super Mario

It bothers me that everyone wants an HD remake of Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. We just had those, what’s the rush? You slide those games into either your Wii or Wii U and they still look great! They don’t even run in native 1080p but they look like they do! If there must be an HD remake of any Mario game, may I allow myself to lay down money on it being Super Mario Sunshine?

Let me explain, I have a theory that every other Nintendo console is really the fruit of the labor of the previous console. NES had a few greats, but a lot of them were so bad that no one would dare pick them up today. Then the SNES came out, and took everything from the NES and made it better. Because of that, the SNES became arguably the best console ever. After SNES, the N64 came about, and just about every game was a technology test, making a lot of games rough around the edges. Think back to the N64 and think about how much of them really hold up well. Not much, right? The only ones I can think of are Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Pokemon Snap. Every other game that was good at the time was remade into a better version on a different console. Honestly the N64 controller is one of the worst controllers known to man, so being updated to any current console with a modern controller already makes the games better. Starfox 64, Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, and Majora’s Mask, all of these have superior remakes on a different console. Even Conker got remade, and while I never played the updated version, it’s a safe assumption that the controls were better.

So, after the awkward era that was the N64, came the Gamecube. This is when Nintendo really knew how to properly make fantastic 3D games, but everyone seemed to hate them at the time. That’s because Nintendo dared to try something new with their franchises. Zelda got a visual overhaul that made it look like a cartoon. Star Fox became an adventure game with dinosaurs. Metroid became a third person shooter. Kirby became a racing game. And Mario? He got a water powered jet pack. These drastic changes really put off a lot of people, even though all of them are arguably great games. Even Star Fox Adventures I think people would love if it didn’t have “Star Fox” in the title.

So, what does this all have to do with an HD remake of Sunshine? Just about everything. I am fully willing to admit that Sunshine was one of my first 3D games, so I inherently have nostalgia goggles on it. However, even with those goggles, I still have fun every time I play it. Every year, I pop in Sunshine at one point or another because it’s a fun game. Recently I even played through the entirety of the game and it still holds up. It’s a beautiful game with challenging, precise, platforming. It holds up surprisingly well, way better than Mario 64 and on par with both Galaxy games. However, the reason why Sunshine deserves a remake over the other games is because not many people got the chance to play it.

Gamecube was one of the least successful Nintendo consoles that still managed to make profit. Compared to the Wii, the Gamecube was a huge flop. Because of that, not many people got to play Gamecube games. To get more people to play this wonderful game, Sunshine needs to get the Wind Waker HD treatment. A slight graphical upgrade and maybe evening out levels  so the difficulty spike isn’t as noticeable (I’m looking at you, pachinko machine level!)

With those minor tweaks and a release on either 3DS, Wii U, or even the upcoming NX, this game would almost be a guaranteed hit.

Shovel Knight is Getting a Retail Release

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight

One of the best games of last year is coming to a store near you. After a year of Shovel Knight being available on various digital store fronts, developer Yacht Club Games has announced that the game will be getting a retail release this October. In spirit of the games it is inspired by, the physical disk will come with a manual and all of the current DLC packages for free, and the future DLC will be free as well. The DLC includes:

  • Battle Mode: A “Smash Bros” type of mode available on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC
  • Body Swap Mode: Enables the ability to swap the gender of any of the Knights in the game.
  • Plague of Shadows Campaign: A new campaign where you play as Plague Knight.
  • King Knight’s Campaign: A new campaign where you play as King Knight.
  • Specter Knight’s Campaign: A new campaign where you play as Specter Knight

The retail Shovel Knight will release on October 13th in North America and October 16th in Europe on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and 3DS, with a PC version available in Europe only.

Selling over 700,000 copies online and winning over 100 accolades, many of them being Game of the Year awards, this seems like a logical step for Shovel Knight to take now. Personally, even though I bought this game twice already, once on 3DS and once on PS4/Vita, I will definitely be buying this again for the box. I can’t recommend this game enough.

Why Splatoon is My Favorite Shooter Since Team Fortress 2

Splatoon

I’ve owned Team Fortress 2 since 2008. It was the very first PC game I ever bought and was recommended to me by one of my best friends. It also happens to be the game that introduced me to every other mod brought to life by Valve who have continued to update the game since 2007. As you can imagine, not only is the game absolutely bursting with content and replayability, it also holds a pretty sentimental place in my mind.

Now, I’ve strayed many times from Team Fortrees 2, but I’ve always managed to come back. I’ve put well over 800 hours into the game, which is nothing compared to the thousands of hours other players have invested into the game. But it wasn’t until I got my hands on Splatoon that I ever felt myself having the same type of fun I do playing TF2.

Friends with benefits

Part of this feeling stems from how accessible and casual the game feels. Each match is limited to three minutes each and it really seems like it’s the perfect amount of time because you never get the chance to wonder what to do next before the game is over and the winner is decided. Maps are also on a four hour rotation which means every four hours you get a pair of maps to play on for regular queues and a separate pair for ranked queues. This might seems a bit backwards, but it really aids in helping players learn maps quickly. By the time I get bored with one set a new one is usually right around the corner.

The length of matches are in pretty stark contrast with Team Fortrees 2 but the casual atmosphere of the games feel the same. In TF2 I enjoy playing payload maps that consist of 16 on 16, which means that while I do have the ability to try and carry a team with the help of a medic, I can also blend into the background and just let things happen.

Splatoon has this very same feeling. You only win the match by covering more of the level with your ink than the opposing team. No one can really carry the team here since four players spouting ink will always be better than one, so you end up losing the sense that you’re the most important player on the team and I actually find myself more relaxed. I sit back, do my job, and have a ton of fun doing it.

Carrots on a stick

The constant stream of progression and new content is another part of the game that keeps drawing me back in. Nintendo launched the game with a handful of maps unlocked and enough weapons to not be boring, but there’s actually a lot more content on the disk. What they’re doing is rolling out maps and other content in an escalated manner so that there always seems to be something new to look forward to.

Splattershot Image
Splattershot Image

The leveling system adds to the progression since you unlock weapons and new gear as you level. Leveling is quick in the beginning but begins to slow down once you get around to level 10. A lot of time grinding out XP is filled by trying out all of the weapons you get that completely change the way your character plays and this can be further compounded by adapting your stats to your play style by equipping additional gear.

Staying fresh

There are no classes in the game, and gameplay doesn’t feel anywhere near as varied as TF2, but the objective and weapons do make that game feel more interesting than Call of Duty or Battlefield. Covering the map should be a player’s primary goal but there are unstated roles that help contribute to this goal in different ways. I personally enjoy hanging back with a roller and playing defense. In the beginning of the match I stay behind so my team can go push up and set the frontline to our advantage. Once I have everything painted I creep around and defend our turf so no aggressive players can snag some for their team.

On the opposite end, sometimes I’ll grab a Splattershot so I can go on the offensive. This role revolves around pushing your turf up and forcing their team to play more defensively which doesn’t give them the chance to grab any of your turf to have as their own.

Splatoon isn’t without its flaws, but they’re minor ones I can look past. The shooting genre has been primarily dominated by military shooters for years now and it’s incredibly refreshing to see Nintendo (of all companies) push forward with a new IP that adds an innovating experience to the genre.

Miyamoto Implies that the Wii U Is Dead (and that Tablets Killed It)

Miyamoto

In a recent interview with NPR, legendary Nintendo luminary Shigeru Miyamoto had this to say about the Wii U:

“I think unfortunately what ended up happening was that tablets themselves appeared in the marketplace and evolved very, very rapidly, and unfortunately the Wii system launched at a time where the uniqueness of those features were perhaps not as strong as they were when we had first begun developing them. So what I think is unique about Nintendo is we’re constantly trying to do unique and different things. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they’re not as big of a hit as we would like to hope. After Wii U, we’re hoping that next time it will be a very big hit.”

As a proud Wii U owner myself, this quote had me feeling a little queasy. For months, industry analysts and fans alike have been wildly speculating that the Wii U console is already – after just three years on the market – being slowly phased out. This quote by Miyamoto, coupled with the lack of titles discussed at E3, seem to support this dire prognosis. With their big new title Splatoon already out, and with just a meager handful of titles announced for the rest of 2015, all the signs are there that Nintendo is starting to give up on its highly unprofitable console.

Sure, there are some that would say the Wii U hasn’t left Nintendo’s list of priorities: after all, we still have Yoshi’s Wooly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Mario Maker, and of course Star Fox Zero, to look forward to this year. What’s more, there’s possibly a perfectly reasonable excuse why we didn’t see too much at Nintendo’s E3 presentation. Consider this quote from Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, when asked about a new Samus adventure game: Miyamoto

“Look, we know that the fans want a straight Samus Aran game. We also know that the best way to launch a game like that is to surprise and delight them, to give them a launch date, in an environment like this let them play it vs. what other companies do which is to announce a project that you may not see for five, six years. It’s just not the way we do things. We know the community wants to see a straight-up Metroid game. We know it.” (emphasis mine)

Perhaps Nintendo haven’t announced much else for the Wii U because they are still a ways off from completing any of their projects? I would love if this was the case: but there’s a big fly in the proverbial soup here. Zelda Wii U.

As this analysis offered by Venturebeat suggests, it’s entirely possible that Nintendo intentionally delayed Zelda: Wii U to make it cross-platform, like they did with Twilight Princess. This might mean we get the Nintendo: NX next year, with Zelda as its launch title.

What do you think: is Nintendo done with the Wii U? Or are they just waiting to unveil a cornucopia of amazing games?