Top 10 Wii U Games (So Far)

Wii U

The Wii U is a devastatingly underrated system. It’s ousted the GameCube as Nintendo’s least-selling home console of all time. Because of that, gamers all over the internet, true to their  cynical nature, see that as a reflection of the quality of the system itself (of course, they also dismissed the original Wii because it sold well, so go figure). But despite being the butt of jokes on the internet and its less-than desirable sales figures, the Wii U actually boasts a really impressive library of games.

Sure, Nintendo really needed to emphasize the console over the controller in its early marketing strategies, the Gamepad needed to be used more effectively in more games, and one can’t help but think that simply naming the console “Wii 2” could have helped boost sales by itself (because seriously, what does the “U” mean?). Despite this questionable decision-making and marketing, the Wii U has ultimately proven to be a terrific console where it counts, and that’s the games.

Yes, the Wii U had a slow first few months, but once it started picking up steam around mid-2013 it’s released some of the best games in recent years. Arguably the best part is that you can’t play them anywhere else. Though console exclusives are becoming rarer on competing hardware, they often prove to be the more definitive titles of their generations, and it’s an area in which Nintendo always excels.

Though the Wii U still has some big games on the horizon (including a new Star Fox and The Legend of Zelda), I think it’s safe to say that rumblings of Nintendo’s next console, codenamed “NX,” means that its days as a priority for Nintendo are slowing down. Sure, Nintendo has stated that they’ll still support the Wii U even after NX launches, but I think the Wii U’s underwhelming sales will make it a short-term continued support (Wii U might have a good few months and a couple of big games after NX, but I can’t imagine it would go much farther). I feel now is a good time to reflect on the many great games the Wii U has provided over the past three years, even if I may have to make a revised edition after the last waves of big games hit the console in the year ahead.

Despite Nintendo being backed into a wall in regards to the Wii U, or perhaps because of it, Nintendo has ended up creating some of the greatest lineups of games in their history for the console. It’s given us the most balanced Mario Kart, the most intricate Smash Bros. and the best version of the best 3D Zelda yet made. But which Wii U games are the best?

The following is my list of the top 10 greatest Wii U games. The ten Wii U titles that are the most fun. The 10 most definitive. The 10 games that all those people who still refuse to get a Wii U are missing out on the most. Seriously people, stop using the whole “waiting for Zelda” excuse as a crutch. Nintendo consoles are more than just a Zelda title.

One final note, I have decided not to include The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD in this countdown. Despite being one of my favorite video games, it would feel kind of cheap to list a remake here with all the original Wii U titles, even if Wind Waker HD has some of the best uses of the Gamepad.

So without further ado, the top 10 Wii U games! But first, some runners-up! Continue reading “Top 10 Wii U Games (So Far)”

Top 5 Third-Party Characters Who Should NEVER be in Super Smash Bros.

I’ve already written lists of characters I’d like to see added in Super Smash Bros. as DLC, and specified my top five most-wanted third-party characters. But with the Smash Bros. character ballot ending today, I’d figured I’d make another, much more unpleasant list. These are the top five third-party characters who I fear some troubled souls have actually voted for, despite their not belonging/deserving to be in the series, or just flat-out being lame characters.

 

5: Master Chief (Halo series)

"Take it easy, Master Chief! You're still cool!"
“Take it easy, Master Chief! You’re still cool!”

I love Halo. I really do. It’s one of the most consistently fun and deep FPS series out there. So much so that it’s an FPS series I still enjoy playing despite my overall loss of interest in the genre.

But why exactly should Master Chief be in Super Smash Bros? There are still a fair number of people who want him in there, but why? He has literally zero connection to Nintendo, and putting him in the game would just be advertisement for a competing console. Not to mention Nintendo is adamant about no guns in Smash Bros. (save the ray gun and Super Scope 6). When Solid Snake was in Brawl his guns were removed in favor of the more tactical side of the character. But Master Chief is all guns. What could they do with him?

A cool character from a great series. But he has no place in Smash Bros.

 

4: Any Indie Character Who Isn’t Shovel Knight (Various)

 

"Go on and cry because YOU DON'T BELONG HERE!"
“Go on and cry because YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!”

I get it. Indie games are a thing now. But just because most of them seem to replicate the same kind of old school feeling of Nintendo games doesn’t automatically give them Smash cred. Just because they have a tendency to take the blueprints of Super Mario and add in a heap of pretentiousness their own twists doesn’t mean they’ve earned their spot.

The only indie game that I feel perfectly captured that “Nintendo feeling” is Shovel Knight. In fact, I might say that it’s the only modern game that can rank among the best 8-bit games. It’s the best NES game never to have been released on NES.

But as awesome as Shovel Knight might be, even he might be a bit early in his resume (seeing as he’s not a Nintendo character) to be put in Smash Bros. against some other contenders. But at least he’d fit in, seeing as he comes without the self-righteousness or quasi-gross out humor of his indie contemporaries. You know who I’m talking about!

 

3: Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

 

"NO!"
“NO!”

Sure, Kingdom Hearts has had various spinoff titles on Nintendo’s handhelds, but who cares? Notice how Kingdom Hearts 3 is being treated like the return of a long-dormant series, even though there’s been a small army of Kingdom Hearts titles released since Kingdom Hearts 2. That’s because no one cares about the handheld spinoffs (except for the lot who has the Bizarro World belief that anything Tetsuya Nomura touches is good). Sora’s presence on Nintendo consoles has been nothing but filler, and has only served to send the convolution of the series’ plot into the stratosphere.

Do I even need to bring up the fact that his buddies Donald Duck and Goofy are way cooler than he is? Even Winnie the Pooh is more badass! And don’t even get me started on the legalities between Square and Disney.

Plus, do we really want another spiky-haired anime dude in Smash? Do we not have enough of those already?

 

2: Cloud (Final Fantasy VII)

Cloud
“Hey look! It’s every Tetsuya Nomura character ever!”

 

 

Don’t give the weaboo what they want! Don’t do it, Sakurai! They don’t deserve to be catered to!

Look, I understand that Final Fantasy VII is a beloved game (if maybe more than a little overhyped compared to many of its predecessors and successors). But seriously, his only presence on any Nintendo console have been bit parts in the aforementioned handheld Kingdom Hearts titles. And well, see above.

Besides, it’s not even like Cloud would be the best Final Fantasy representation for Smash Bros. I know  those Nomura fanboys would whine about this, but honestly, the best Final Fantasy representation in Smash Bros. would just be a basic Black Mage or White Mage or something along those lines.

Not to mention Cloud is more commonly associated with Playstation. So again, what incentive does Nintendo have to add this character over so many others? Need I repeat… Spiky-haired anime dude! No more! Please!

"At least when Cloud looked like clumps of dough he had some charm about him..."
“At least when Cloud looked like clumps of dough he had some charm about him…”

 

1: Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog series)

 

*Cue long, drawn-out sigh*
*Cue long, drawn-out sigh*

Lord help us all if Shadow the Hedgehog gets voted in.

Cool to 12-year old boys, creepy Sonic weaboos, and no one else, shadow the Hedgehog is the bottom of the video game character barrel. Not only is he just another member of the infinitely tired anime trope of a “dark” lookalike of a main character (a spot that’s already needlessly filled in Smash Bros. by Dark Pit), but the downward spiral of the Sonic the Hedgehog series can be linked to the character’s introduction. At that point, it seemed like Sega’s main focus was no longer making good Sonic games, but introducing a bunch of goofy animal characters and giving them generic anime personalities that they magnified by emphasizing story over gameplay.

Not to mention that Sonic already kind of has the least imaginative moveset in Smash Bros. (he spins… a lot!), and it’s easy to imagine Shadow would just have a cloned moveset. But, y’know, “dark and edgy.” Uggh.

For one thing, there really doesn’t need to be any more Sonic characters in Smash Bros. But if there were to be another, it should be Dr. Robotnik. Or Eggman. Whatever he’s called. He’s fine.

Shadow already tainted one series, we really don’t need him doing the same for another.

Top 5 Third-Party Characters I’d Like to See in Super Smash Bros.

I already wrote a list of characters I’d like to see added to Super Smash Bros. via DLC, but of course I realized there were a few other characters I failed to mention. Two of the characters I listed belong to third-parties, but some of the characters I failed to mention also fall under that umbrella, including one that I personally feel guilty for not listing.

Now, some people will give the usual “too many third-party characters” argument, but I’m not saying all these characters will be added to the game, or even that I’d like to see them all thrown in at once. It’s merely a list of five third-party characters I’d like to see. Nothing more. Besides, I’d rather see more third-party characters than any more anime swordfighters by this point (spoiler alert: Lloyd Irving isn’t here). So at the very least, the characters listed here would bring some added variety to the mix.

Keep in mind I’m sticking with characters who have a history with Nintendo. So while I love Halo as much as the next guy, Master Chief has no place here. I should emphasize that these characters have strong ties to Nintendo, so Cloud’s cameos in those handheld Kingdom Hearts games amount to nothing here.

Although Rayman games are fun (if maybe a bit overrated), I don’t particularly care for the titular character, so he’s not here, either. Finally, Solid Snake was already in Super Smash Bros. at one point, so while I wouldn’t mind him returning to the series, this list is solely for potential newcomers.

Feel free to vote for any of these characters on the Smash Bros. character ballot if you haven’t already!

Anyway, let’s get onto the list. But first, an honorable mention. Continue reading “Top 5 Third-Party Characters I’d Like to See in Super Smash Bros.”

Super Smash Bros. Really Needs More Donkey Kong Characters

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash BRos. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS saw another major update recently, with a lot of additional content including Tournament Mode, the ability to upload videos to YouTube, and DLC stages and costumes for the Mii Fighters.

Unfortunately, one of those Mii Fighter costumes includes King K. Rool, the recurring antagonist from the Donkey Kong series. Why is this unfortunate? Because K. Rool has been one of the most requested characters to join the Super Smash Bros. roster, and him being included as a Mii Fighter costume almost feels like a mere token. He’s included as a Mii costume, so will Sakurai just stop there?

Now, it is possible that if K. Rool (or anyone else) gets enough votes in the Smash Bros. character poll he could potentially still be added. But that really depends on how many new characters the poll will allow. It’s an uncertainty.

I understand it’s difficult to write coding and add a whole new character to the game, so I understand people can’t get every character they want as DLC. My problem though, is that the Donkey Kong series, one of Nintendo’s premiere franchises, is sorely underrepresented in Super Smash Bros. DK shouldn’t have to wait for DLC.

"Not like this... Not like this..."
“Not like this… Not like this…”

Donkey Kong and Diddy are great characters in Super Smash Bros. But considering the series’ importance to Nintendo’s history (it was their first full-fledged franchise, the Mario series itself is a spinoff from it, I could go on), having just two characters when it has more to work with seems unfair to the beloved series. Especially when one considers that Kid Icarus, a series that didn’t even have a new entry for over two decades, has three characters. And don’t get me started on the small army of Fire Emblem characters.

I’m not even saying that the game needs to include the whole Kong family (no one wants Chunky Kong), but Dixie Kong should have already been in Super Smash Bros. some time ago. Not to mention her prehensile hair could give her a unique moveset. King K. Rool would also be a great addition, since he’d not only bring more DK representation, but the series could use some additional villain characters (the current games only have Bowser, Bowser Jr., Ganondorf and King Dedede filling the villain roster), and K. Rool could add to that category nicely. Even Cranky Kong makes more sense than a lot of the characters who actually made it into Smash Bros. (because seriously, Dark Pit)!

Metroid is another series that is sorely underrepresented in Smash Bros., also having only two characters (both of which are two versions of the same character). But I understand that Metroid has a bit less characters to work with. So while Metroid definitely deserves more characters, it isn’t quite as baffling as DK’s underrepresentation. There’s no shortage of material to work with when it comes to Donkey Kong.

Again, there is still some shred of hope for the DK faithful with that character poll. But the big question is, why should Donkey Kong, one of Nintendo’s greatest franchises and one of gaming’s most iconic series, have to rely on the character poll just to get one additional character?

Hopefully, the K. Rool Mii Fighter costume is just an appetizer for something better for the DK crew around the corner, and not just compensation.

Most Wanted Smash Bros. DLC Characters

Nintendo has officially opened up a character ballot for potential DLC characters for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. For the first time in forever, Nintendo fans can officially make suggestions for characters they’d like to be added to the series, with the possibility of some suggestions becoming a reality.

If you want to vote for your favorite characters, you can do so by going here. Nintendo’s setup is simple enough: Name the character, the game/series they appear in, and give a brief reason why they should be in the game.

Naturally, I have already voted a number of times. There are some characters I wanted for a while that actually ended up in the game (Rosalina, the Duck Hunt dog), but there are some other favorites that didn’t make the cut. Some of my choices are a little more obscure, but some are characters who should have been in the series by this point. At the very least, they all make more sense than Dark Pit.

 

Dixie Kong

Dixie Kong

From: Donkey Kong series

Why she should be in Super Smash Bros: A better question is why hasn’t Dixie Kong been in Super Smash Bros. already? The Donkey Kong series, despite being Nintendo’s earliest franchise, as well as one of their most popular, is grossly underrepresented in Super Smash Bros. With DK and Diddy already in the game, the next logical choice would be Dixie Kong. She debuted in the second (and most beloved) Donkey Kong Country game, was the star of the third entry, and has remained a series mainstay. She was even the most useful partner in Tropical Freeze!

There really is no reason why Dixie hasn’t been in the series yet. She’s a fan favorite and represents one of Nintendo’s biggest series. Best of all, her prehensile hair could give her an incredibly unique moveset.

Fawful

Fawful

From: Mario & Luigi series

Why he should be in Super Smash Bros: Fawful, having appeared in the first three Mario & Luigi games, is one of the more recurring antagonists in the Mario series. Smash Bros. could use a few more villain characters (Bowser, Bowser Jr., Ganondorf and King Dedede being the only ones in Wii U and 3DS), and Fawful is a great candidate. He quickly became a fan favorite due to his odd characteristics and bizarre speech patterns, and he can represent the ‘spinoff’ side of the Mario series proudly. He to, could have a unique moveset (imagine Wario meets Snake from Brawl) that could add some extra humor to the series.

Also, he has fury.

Geno

Geno

From: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Why he should be in Super Smash Bros: Few characters have been as requested for Smash Bros. as Geno (especially by me). The reasoning is simple enough: He’s the most popular character from one of the most beloved Mario games, and he, like the rest of Mario RPG’s original characters, have yet to return in another game. People want Super Mario RPG to be acknowledged, and Geno becoming a Smash Bros. fighter would skyrocket that game’s recognition.

Plus, Geno’s moveset writes itself! He could be a very unique, and very effective addition to Super Smash Bros.

Of course, we must address the elephant in the room: Square-Enix. Square still owns the character, and they’ve never been the most compliant of developers. The fans can request Geno all they want, and Sakurai could listen, but Square also needs to give the okay.

I certainly hope enough people request Geno as to open the eyes of both Sakurai and Square-Enix.

 

King K. Rool

King K. Rool

From: Donkey Kong series

Why he should be in Super Smash Bros: Again, Super Smash Bros. seriously needs more Donkey Kong representation. And it needs more villains. King K. Rool therefore fills two holes in the roster. Similar to what happened with Dedede in Brawl, he has a moveset more or less ready and waiting for him from his various boss fights throughout the years.

Also, if K. Rool were to make the cut, he needs to have a Kaptain K. Rool palette swap. Because pirate crocodiles.

Granted, it’s hard to say just how good K. Rool’s chances would be, considering he hasn’t even appeared in a Donkey Kong game in years. But if he were to make it, he’d be a great addition.

Nights

Nights

From: Nights series

Why he/she should be in Super Smash Bros: While most Sega fans clamor for more Sonic characters to be added to the mix (God help us all if the Shadow fans have their way), the other Sega character I would like to see would be Nights. Given the nature of Nights’ games, I could easily see him/her being an aerial-based character.

Nights is a bit of a long shot, but no doubt he/she would make for a fantastic addition to the Super Smash Bros. roster.

 

Paper Mario

Paper Mario

From: Paper Mario series.

Why he should be in Super Smash Bros: First thing’s first… NOT A CLONE!

With that out of the way, I have to point out that Super Smash Bros. doesn’t exactly shy away from having multiple versions of the same character on the roster (Mario and Dr. Mario, Samus and Zero Suit Samus, etc.), and Paper Mario seems like one of the few characters who would fall under this category who would be a welcome and unique addition to the series.

He could have something of a Game & Watch style visual look, and his moves could be based around his partners from the Paper Mario series or something. Just don’t ruin him with a Sticker star gimmick.

Toon Ganon

Ganon

From: The Legend of Zelda: The wind Waker

Why he should be in Super Smash Bros: There are two primary reasons I want to see the Wind Waker iteration of Ganon added to the mix. The first is that The Wind Waker is, bar none, my favorite of the 3D Zelda games (Ocarina of Time be damned). It was like a culmination of what Ocarina started, with a style that was distinctly its own. Twilight Princess felt creatively restrained as it pandered to fans, and Skyward Sword branched out in some creative ways, but the results could be a mixed bag. But Wind Waker had it all figured out, and its only got better with age. Clearly, I just want more Wind Waker representation.

The other reason I’d like to see Toon Ganon is, well, I still can’t stand that Ganondorf’s moveset in Super Smash Bros. is cloned from Captain Falcon. Sure, Brawl and the Wii U/3DS games have ironed him out a bit, but the core of his character is still a Captain Falcon clone. Ganon deserves much better. Given Ganon’s penchant for duel-wielding swords in Wind Waker, I can only hope that could be used to make him a more unique character.

There are a few other characters I’d love to see, and maybe I’ll write about them later. I obviously do not expect more than one or two DLC characters to come out of Nintendo’s character ballot, but it’s fun to think of all the possibilities. Some of these characters should already be in the series. And given some of the characters who have made the cut, it makes the character ballot seem all the more desirable. Because seriously, Dark Pit…

Top 5 Most Undeserving Super Smash Bros. Characters

Super Smash Bros. is one of Nintendo’s best series, and it does a beautiful job at representing the developers’ long and influential history in the video game medium. But not every character who has made the cut is an ideal choice. There are still a number of popular characters who have yet to make the Smash Bros’ roster, and some that have made it that…well, let’s just say they feel out of place.

The original Smash Bros. had an inarguable roster of iconic Nintendo mainstays (though I still think Meowth would have made more sense as a secondary Pokemon character than Jigglypuff, and had the game had more memory, Bowser, Peach and Dedede should have made the initial cut). But with the sequels, it seems like director Masahiro Sakurai has at times gone a little overboard with how far he’s stretching his hand. At the worst of times, it seems more like he’s catering to his own ego than representing Nintendo’s history.

The following list are the five characters who have appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series at one point or another who really just don’t deserve to be there. It isn’t necessarily a list of characters I don’t like (though in some cases that’s true), but a list of characters who just really don’t belong to fight alongside Mario, Link and their ilk (mind you, this is coming from someone who still thinks Geno would be a great addition, even though it’ll never happen).

Lucario, for example, won’t be on here. Even though I don’t much care for Lucario, I understand that he’s one of the more popular Pokemon, and with Pokemon being one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, I can respect his inclusion. Similarly, I don’t like that Dr. Mario is merely a clone character, but I understand that Dr. Mario was one of the more popular of Mario’s early spinoffs, and with Mario being Nintendo’s mascot, the inclusion of the character himself makes sense.

The following characters are, quite simply, the sort of lot that make you raise an eyebrow and say “Really?” Be warned, opinions ahead!

 

 

5: Lucina

Lucina

Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U

Original series: Fire Emblem

Part of me doesn’t have a problem with the idea of Lucina being a Smash Bros. character. Like Dr. Mario, I can understand that she’s from a popular game and simply has the misfortune of being a clone. But when I think of how she was implemented, I have to wonder why this character was necessary.

First off, I must repeat she is a clone of Marth. It wouldn’t be too big of a deal, except that Super Smash Bros. Melee already had a Marth clone in Roy, who was removed from the series because Sakurai specifically stated he wanted less clones in the sequels. So they got rid of one Marth clone for Brawl, only to bring in a different Marth clone who is even more similar to Marth in appearance and moveset.

Now, what really renders this character superfluous is that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS introduced palette-swapped characters. Bowser Jr. becomes the Koopalings and Olimar becomes Alph. But Lucina is a separate character because reasons. By making her a separate character from Marth on the roster but practically identical in play style, it just kind of cheapens the inclusion.

I know you’re probably thinking but what makes Lucina undeserving?” Well, besides the above reasons, there’s also the fact that Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS has three other Fire Emblem characters. With all due respect, has Fire Emblem really earned more characters than Metroid or Donkey Kong? Was a fourth character, a clone, really necessary?

Lucina isn’t a bad character per se, but she isn’t a memorable addition to Super Smash Bros.

4: Pichu

Pichu

Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. Melee

Original series: Pokemon

I know Pichu is cute and all, but even as a kid, I was dumbfounded why Pokemon Gold and Silver added un-evolved versions of preexisting Pokemon. Why should I have to train these new guys just to get Pokemon I already had in the last game? It still baffles me. Pichu’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. raises just as many question marks.

I know, I’m kind of contradicting my own Lucario statement earlier, but Lucario is at least a Pokemon entirely separate than Pikachu. It seems like Pichu made the cut just from affiliation. This is more or less the Smash Bros. equivalent of having Tom Hanks on the roster, and then adding Jim Hanks and expecting him to have a similar impact. Because Hanks.

If this were a list of “worst characters in Smash Bros.” Pichu might just take the cake, since Sakurai, in either some cruel joke or a commentary on the unnecessary nature of the character, decided it would be funny if Pichu’s every last move damaged himself. Pichu never injured himself like this in Pokemon Gold and Silver, but this odd characteristic was added in the short film that played before Pokemon the Movie 2000. Not Pokemon the Movie 2000 itself, mind you. The short film beforehand.

So Sakurai decided to toss in a Pikachu clone in the form of Pichu – whose presence in Pokemon was already questionable – and decided to turn him into an intentionally broken character just in case anyone actually wanted to play as him. Okay.

3: Palutena

Palutena

Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

Original series: Kid Icarus

Here’s where Sakurai decided to give himself a pat on the back. While I can at least appreciate that Palutena is a unique character and not a clone (the only such character on this list), there are so many more deserving and popular characters out there who didn’t make the cut, while Palutena more or less got a free ticket just because Sakurai made Kid Icarus Uprising.

Here’s a fun fact, out of every character who has ever appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series, Palutena is the only one, the only one, who was never previously a playable character in some capacity. Captain Falcon piloted the Blue Falcon in F-Zero, the Duck Hunt character includes the “Unseen Gunman” (the player character) from the NES game, and even R.O.B. was playable in Mario Kart DS. But Palutena? She only appeared at the very end of the original Kid Icarus. And while her banters with Pit in Uprising could be amusing, players never had the chance to play as her. Palutena is, quite literally, only in the game for Sakurai’s own hubris.

That’s not to say she’s a bad character, I even find her moveset to be kind of cool. But when it comes down to it, Palutena really hasn’t earned her spot. She’s not exactly iconic, and the Kid Icarus series hasn’t exactly been vital to Nintendo. Did Smash Bros. really need any Kid Icarus characters other then Pit?

When it dawns on you that Dixie Kong is still somehow not in Smash Bros. but Palutena is, it becomes all the more of a bummer.

2: Wolf O’Donnell

Wolf

Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Original series: Star Fox

Here’s where we enter bottom of the barrel territory. Wolf O’Donnell, ladies and gentlemen.

Look, I like Star Fox. I have many fond memories of Star Fox 64, and look forward to the new Star Fox on Wii U. But was the series really relevant enough by 2008 to warrant three represented characters in Super Smash Bros? More specifically, did it need three characters who are all more or less identical?

After Star Fox 64, the series kind of burned out for many gamers. Sure, Star Fox still has its fans, but I’m not sure Star Fox Assault left such an indelible mark on Nintendo’s history as to make Wolf O’Donnell a Smash Bros. must-have. Not to mention Falco has already been relegated to Fox clone, what exactly was the point of adding another?

For the record, I again point out that Metroid and Donkey Kong, two of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, each only have two playable characters in Super Smash Bros. (in Metroid’s case, it’s two versions of the same character), but Star Fox has had three. And they don’t even barrel roll.

At the very least, Wolf didn’t make a return appearance in the sequels. But if Sakurai was trying to get esoteric here, the least he could have done was resurrect Muddy Mole.

1: Dark Pit

*Groan*

Appeared in: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

Original series: Kid Icarus

If Palutena was Sakurai patting himself on the back, then Dark Pit is Sakurai raising a toast in his own honor while simultaneously flipping the bird to everyone who requested their favorite characters, only for them to be denied a spot in Super Smash Bros. Dark Pit’s inclusion just screams egomania.

Again, I point out the abundance of Kid Icarus characters and references in the newest installments of the series (there weren’t even any new Zelda characters). A series that laid dormant for 21 years is suddenly the focal point of Super Smash Bros. representation, conveniently after Sakurai made Kid Icarus Uprising (which was a good game by the way, but come on). It should be noted that Sakurai, when making the original Smash Bros., contemplated adding King Dedede, a character from his other, more prominent series, Kirby. But he decided against adding Dedede in both the original game and Melee, as he didn’t want to favor his own characters. I wonder what happened to that humility? At least Dedede has earned his spot.

I must also reiterate that Dark Pit is a clone of Pit, despite the fact that the palette-swap concept has been introduced. Sakurai claims he separated the characters because “Pit’s Final Smash [The Three Sacred Treasures] wouldn’t make canonical sense for Dark Pit.” And Smash Bros. is clearly all about the accuracy of representation, which is why Mario’s Final Smash feels like it was pulled from Dragon Ball Z and Bowser’s involves the King Koopa transforming into a horrible, mutated version of himself (because that happened in a Mario game, right?).

To pour salt on the wound, Pit even has an alternate costume that looks like Dark Pit, and Dark Pit has an alternate costume that looks like Pit. It’s like Sakurai is magnifying the pointlessness of Dark Pit and taunting us with it!

Dark Pit is already kind of an annoying character, being a part of the endlessly rehashed dark-clad, antihero version of the main character trope. There’s nothing memorable about him. But here he is, in Super Smash Bros. while many a beloved character gets left in the cold.

The only redeeming aspect of Dark Pit’s inclusion is that now, whenever someone makes a suggestion for even the most obscure character to be added to the series, they can defend their stance with six simple words: “Makes more sense than Dark Pit.”

Top 5 Games of 2014 (Game of the Year)

2014 was quite an interesting year for video games. Most of the hyped, high-profile titles that were “destined for greatness” ended up disappointing most. Destiny, Titanfall and Watchdogs, which were all supposed to be the year’s biggest games, quickly fizzled out upon release. But that doesn’t mean 2014 was full of duds.

Quite the opposite, actually. 2014 saw a few truly great games. Namely, fantastic sequels to greats like Dark Souls and Bayonetta shined, and 2014 turned out to be the year the Wii U truly proved its mettle, with the Big N releasing one quality title after another.

So maybe the memorable games of 2014 didn’t come in the forms everyone expected, but when they did show up, they came in full force. Here are the five games that had the biggest impact on me.

Continue reading “Top 5 Games of 2014 (Game of the Year)”

Video Game Awards 2015: Best Content

These days, video games seem to try to cram in as much content as possible to ensure gamers keep coming back for more. Sometimes it all ends up being little more than filler, with some games feeling bloated with additional content. But every now and again, a game seems to throw everything it can at you, and it succeeds in giving players reason to keep coming back again and again.

 

Winner: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. Wii U

If there is another game that better represents an “Everything and the kitchen sink” mentality than Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, I have yet to play it. Ever since Melee, the Super Smash Bros. games have been filled with bonus content, but none of its predecessors even comes close to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

There are more modes than ever before, with each mode being made more dynamic than ever. There are enough collectibles to make Donkey Kong 64 blush, and a seemingly never ending list of things to do. Play a few rounds of online matches – either For Fun or For Glory – or replay Classic and All-Star Modes a few extra times. Or how about taking on the game’s many Challenges? Or the Stage Builder? Heck, you can even just goof off and take a few screenshots, and then scribble all over them and post them to Miiverse.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the most fully realized Smash Bros. yet (sorry Super Smash Bros. for 3DS), as it represents the series’ love of all things fun better than any of its predecessors. I’m still frequently revisiting it months later!

 Runner-up: Mario Kart 8

Video Game Awards 2015: Best Local Multiplayer

Although local multiplayer has been fading away for years now, there are still a few games out there that proudly display the fun of playing games with your friends all being in the same place. There is something to be said about the fun to be had when your opponents are sitting right next to you, and seeing their frustration from their losses first hand.

 

Winner: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. has always been among the best party games out there, and the Wii U edition is the best in the series. It does an insurmountably better job at balancing its roster than any previous entry. Better still, it caters to both of Super Smash Bros’ diehard fanbases.

For those who want to experience the party game madness of Super Smash Bros. in all its glory, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has you covered with the best stages yet in the series, a crazy arsenal of items, Pokemon and Assist Trophies, and even some boss monsters thrown in for good measure. And this time, you can have up to eight players join the fray, which represents Smash Bros. at its most insane.

For those seeking a more competitive fighter, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has you covered with ‘Omega stages,’ which strip the game of its more chaotic elements, and a varied and balanced roster that’s more fleshed-out than any Smash Bros. before.

Whether its two-on-two competitive matches or eight-player free-for-all chaos, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U covers all the bases and guarantees a fun time, every time.

Runner-up: Mario Kart 8

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Review

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS was a fine addition to the series, though its main goal was transitioning the series to handhelds, not pushing the series forward. It was great, but it also felt a bit restrained. Consider the 3DS version the warm up, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the main event. It lives up to the hype, and then some.

Super Smash Bros. Wii UThe character roster and general gameplay remain the same as they were on 3DS. It’s tight and polished, and more balanced than the Smash Bros. of yesteryear. The character roster is varied and full of personality: The likes of Little Mac, Duck Hunt and Pac-Man bring the nostalgic charms, while characters such as Rosalina, Wii Fit Trainer, and Villager represent Nintendo’s contemporary appeal. Then there’s Mii Fighters, who add a personal touch to battles. They join the majority of Brawl’s roster and a host of other newcomers to ensure there’s never a shortage in play styles (Though I still question why Kid Icarus is more represented than Metroid or Donkey Kong).

But while the characters and gameplay may be identical to that of the 3DS Smash Bros., what the Wii U version does with them is entirely its own.

There are a plethora of new modes: Smash Tour sees players face off in a Mario Party-style game board, collecting fighters and power-ups as they go, and ending in a battle where said collectibles are put into action. Trophy Rush works as Smash Bros’ take on Tetris, and lets players break falling blocks and collect trophies and character customizing items. Master Orders throws players into battles of their choosing, with more difficult challenges bringing better rewards. Crazy Orders is an intensified version of this, with players fighting battle after battle, accumulating rewards with every victory, but a single defeat means losing most of your prize.

These are just a few of Smash Bros. for Wii U’s new modes. They join many returning favorites, from Classic and All-Star to Break the Targets and Home Run Contests. A fan favorite mode from Melee, Events, makes a comeback, and includes some of the game’s most difficult challenges. The Stage Builder from Brawl also returns, better than ever due to having a few more tools at display, and the Gamepad opens up more creative possibilities with your stage designs.

To top it all off, there are hundreds of trophies to collect, Challenges to complete, and character customizations to unlock. Said character customizations add a whole new level of depth to the series. I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game with quite as much content as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. There’s always something to do.

Of course, what will have you coming back the most is multiplayer. Super Smash Bros. has always specialized in multiplayer, and that’s truer here than ever.

Super Smash Bros. Wii ULocal play allows up to eight players, eight players, to partake in the mayhem. And mayhem it is. Having eight characters all at once can be a little overwhelming, and you may lose yourself amidst all the chaos. But in the end it’s great to have as an option. At the very least, having five or six players still feels grounded while also allowing more players than past entries in the series.

Online multiplayer is also a treat. Though it lacks the 8-player option, it does, like the 3DS version, include modes of play that cater to casual audiences as well as the more hardcore crowd. For Fun includes four-player free-for-alls as well as team matches, where all the items, Final Smashes and stage gimmicks are left intact. Meanwhile, For Glory includes free-for-alls, team matches, and one-on-one bouts where stages are leveled, no items allowed, and wins and losses are recorded, making these matches all about player skill and bragging rights.Super Smash Bros. Wii U

The online modes are a huge improvement over Brawl. It’s much easier to find other players, and now players are penalized for being inactive or quitting mid-match, which encourages more fun battles.

However, with the online modes comes Super Smash Bros. for Wii U’s one notable flaw: The game runs smoothly for the most part, and it certainly feels more together than Brawl’s online capabilities. But when it does encounter problems, it does so with a vengeance. You may go through a dozen matches with no problems whatsoever, and then suddenly you find yourself in a battle that seems to be moving in slow motion, with the characters reacting a few seconds after button presses, if at all. At its worst, I encountered what should have been a two-minute bout that was slowed down to ten minutes of freeze frames. Most matches should work fine, and there are few things in gaming as addictive as playing Smash Bros. with people around the globe, but in those matches where the game can’t keep up with itself, it can be unbearable.

Some may cry foul that they can’t use their customized characters when facing off against online opponents (this includes Mii Fighters in their entirety), but it’s forgivable when taking into account it’s due to maintaining balance between fighters. And you can always use your customized fighters when facing off against friends online.

Super Smash Bros. Wii UThe series’ jump to Wii U also means this is the first time Super Smash Bros. has been presented in HD, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The stitches on Mario’s overalls, the scales on Bowser’s arms, the sheen of Samus’ armor. Nintendo’s characters have never looked more detailed, and the animations are fluid and lively. The stages are downright eye-popping, and boast just what the Wii U hardware is capable of.

The musical score is the best in the series. It retains the majority of Brawl’s tracks, while introducing far more original and remixed themes than the 3DS version. The score is one of the best in Nintendo’s history, and is every bit as much a love letter to the heritage of Nintendo as the characters themselves.Super Smash Bros. Wii U

If Super Smash Bros. for 3DS was the appetizer, consider Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to be the main course. It’s everything we love about Super Smash Bros. made bigger and better than ever. It relishes in any idea it deems fun, no matter how big or how small (you can even take screenshots, and then scribble on those screenshots with the Gamepad). The game boasts a multitude of controller options – all of which I’ve played feel well integrated – meaning you can play however you like. The replay value is nearly endless, and it’s more creative, balanced and fun than any Smash Bros. before it.

Whether you’re old enough to get all the references or the Wii U is your first foray into the worlds of Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has something for everybody.

 

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