"It's about time you showed up, Fox!" After eleven years, the ace fighter pilot and his team of mercenaries are returning to a home console in Star Fox Zero, and a long hiatus like that creates some major expectations. Surely if Nintendo thought it was time to bring back Star Fox now there'd be some big things in store, right? Well it seems those "big ideas" aren't quite as big as I had hoped.
I had forgotten just how cool The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was as I was replaying the HD remake for this review. The original release being almost ten years ago as a launch title for Wii, it's been a long time since I journeyed through Hyrule as Twilight Princess presented it. I had forgotten how dark some of the scenes get, how completely badass Ganondorf is, and how much this story grips me from beginning to end. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD reminded me of all of it — just as a good remastering should — but this return to Hyrule isn't without its flaws.
I set out on another mission into the wilds of Mira, a gigantic world of untraveled terrain and unseen creatures where safety is never guaranteed no matter how prepared I think I am. The path to my next mission is clear, but there’s a lot of ground to cover between the peace of New Los Angeles and the unknown. I have a few teammates at my side and some new abilities to test, so there’s nothing else to do but set out. I must have had this conversation during my Xenoblade Chronicles X playthrough hundreds of times, as each return to the untamed world of Mira required such preparation. Xenoblade X is simply massive, the kind of game that a player like me who wants to explore every nook and cranny can get lost in for hours on end. Creatures of all shapes and sizes inhabit this world, making for plenty of opportunity to grow stronger with each battle and even more time spent in the wilderness. Xenoblade X thrives on its open-ended nature, to the point where the idea of reigning the player in is simply nonexistent.
Many first-party Nintendo titles are geared towards general audiences who want to have fun with the game they have without having to worry about all the bells and whistles of online gameplay. While this means that many of Nintendo's games are pretty shallow when it comes to online functionality/multiplayer, they're meant to be enjoyed with a group of friends in the living room.
If Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash were a book, it would have the cover of an epic novel and the pages of a children’s book. What was billed as a fun and engaging Mario sports game is lacking in both, and instead presents a shallow game that takes all of twenty minutes to fully experience. In a year where Nintendo seemed to make massive strides, delivering a major new IP and finally showing some understanding of how DLC can make games better, Mario Tennis Ultra Smash serves as an unwanted reminder of how Nintendo used to work.
Koei Tecmo and Nintendo may have skipped out on taking the Wii's Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse out of Japan, but the House of Mario decided to cave to fans' demands and give Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water a digital release for Western audiences. As the Silent Hill and Resident Evil series have started to stray and stumble in maintaining survival horror, Maiden of Black Water ups the frights. This new Fatal Frame purposely maintains a slow burn in order to properly build up suspense, bringing back the ghostbusting gameplay of the Camera Obscura, which now utilizes the Wii U's GamePad to exorcise the dead. In an era when survival horror has skewed into action-oriented gameplay or defenseless first-person perspectives, Maiden of Black Water is a welcome, old school-style callback to survival horror's glory days. Unfortunately, Fatal Frame 5 suffers from simple control issues pertaining to its core gameplay that should've easily been ironed out. Despite its solid attempts at spirit photography, there are some basic parts of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water that feel underdeveloped, which can ruin the overall shot.
If cute things make you barf, then make sure the trash can is next to you every time you boot up Yoshi's Woolly World. Every single thing in the game could melt even the coldest heart. The enemies are cute even though they're dangerous, the Yoshis are insufferably adorable, and the unlockable costume colors for the Yoshis are just the best thing ever, especially with amiibos. Duck Hunt Yoshi? Ness Yoshi? They and the rest of Yoshi's Woolly World constantly made rainbows spew out of my mouth... but was it any good?
Comcept was supposed to launch a demo of Mighty No. 9 this week as an apology for the game being delayed into 2016. Unfortunately, that is being delayed as well.
Nintendo has announced the delay of another major Wii U title as Star Fox Zero is being pushed back to a Q1 2016 release.
While at first Lego Dimensions appeared to be yet another NFC figure game built to cash in on the success of Activision's Skylanders series, but in the months since it's been revealed to be a game built to cash in on Skylanders' success with some interesting improvements to the formula. With the concept of having to actually build all the figures and vehicles, Lego Dimensions offers enough difference from its competitors at the onset to make it appealing. Factor in the inclusion of just about every license under Lego's belt, and you've got a game that lets you team Scooby-Doo and Batman with Doctor Who, while they try to stop an invasion into Springfield. After months of lead-up, the arrival of the ultimate fan fiction mash-up game is almost here.