Zelda Wii U. All Alone at E3.

Legend of Zelda Wii U

I love The Legend of Zelda. I really do. It’s one of gaming’s best franchises, and certainly one of the most consistent. But Nintendo’s decision to dedicate the entirety of their E3 presence this year to the new Zelda for Wii U and the upcoming NX is a bit baffling, to say the least.

When I first read the news that Zelda Wii U/NX would be the sole playable game on the show floor, I was a little disappointed, but I was under the impression that they would still have a video presentation showcasing other future games, so I wasn’t too bummed. But then I heard that Nintendo wasn’t even going to have a special edition of Nintendo Direct, as they’ve done the past three years, and instead just have a live stream solely dedicated to the new Zelda title, I was really disappointed, and more than a little confused.

Look, I understand that Zelda is one of the most beloved series of all time, and holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers. But for one new entry to be the entire focus of Nintendo’s presence at one of the biggest gaming events of the year just isn’t enough.

I can respect the delay for the release of the NX. Although missing out on the holiday season may be yet another bummer, but you can’t rush a product before its finished, and the delay means it won’t be launching in direct competition with PSVR and the newer edition PS4s and Xbox Ones that are supposed to hit by year’s end. But to not even make the NX a subject at E3 in any capacity is ridiculous. This is Nintendo’s new home console and, if rumors are true, their new handheld as well. Even if they don’t have it on the show floor, shouldn’t they want to use E3 as a means to get some early buzz for the platform?

At the very least, couldn’t we at least get word on some games to expect on NX? They wouldn’t even have to go into great detail with them. They could just list off “a new 3D Mario,” “Pikmin 4,” and “Super Mario RPG 2″ (let me dream!) will be hitting NX in the future” and that would be enough to get some extra interest and investment going. I mean, sure, Mario coming to NX is an inevitability, but early confirmation would help nonetheless.

Of course, the most disappointing aspect of this news isn’t even in regards to NX, but Wii U. The Wii U was Nintendo’s least financially successful home console, so I kind of get why it won’t be a focal point for E3 now that it’s entering its twilight (it was still a great system, damn it!). But to not give the people who own the console a last wave of release dates and reveals at E3 is more than a little bit of a sting. I’m not even saying they need to be major announcements, but surely there’s enough time left between now and the NX launch to give Wii U owners a game or two to look forward to.

Frankly, I feel like Nintendo is putting all of their eggs in one basket in regards to their near future and Zelda Wii U/NX. The game definitely looks great, and its promise sounds quite interesting. It could wind up being the best Zelda ever by the time it’s released. But as it stands, Zelda Wii U/NX just enough for an E3 showing. Not when they’re leaving Wii U owners high and dry and keeping those who are excited for NX guessing. Even if Zelda’s showing at E3 is phenomenal, Nintendo’s won’t be.

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Zelda Wii U Delayed Again!

Zelda U

Good news and bad news. The good news is Nintendo has announced a rough release date for its next home console, codenamed NX, as being March of 2017. The bad news is that the new Legend of Zelda, which is now officially confirmed to be an NX title as well as a Wii U one, will be launching simultaneously on both consoles around that same time, meaning that it has been delayed yet again.

Now, part of me is a little relieved to hear this news, with that part of me being my wallet. But I also can’t help but feel a little disappointed that Zelda Wii U is delayed once again. It’s been delayed so many times it’s gone from a recurring joke to no longer being funny…

It’s also a bit sad to hear that NX won’t be making it for 2016’s Christmas season, which has been the case for a number of Nintendo’s past consoles. But you can’t force something out of the gate when it’s not ready, I suppose.

The real downer to this news is that it confirms that the Wii U is the only Nintendo console to not have a dedicated Zelda title. Though at the very least, I suppose it has seen the best versions of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, so the brand new Zelda will make it the only home console to house three distinct Zelda adventures, even if they remakes and multiplatform titles.

I suppose I can’t be too disappointed, however, since a delay only means there’s extra work being put into the game. I’d rather have a great game than a rushed one (though I guess at this point it would hardly be considered rushed). And I’m not one of those silly gamers who claims to have “bought a Wii U just for Zelda” and have seldom been disappointed with any of the console’s major releases (Tropical Freeze alone guarantees that I could never, ever regret getting a Wii U).

Hopefully Zelda Wii U/NX can live up to the hype. And maybe we can get a new 3D Mario on NX to go with it. Just for good measure. Please?

Five Things I’d Like to see in The Legend of Zelda Wii U

Zelda Wii U

Despite the rumors that Nintendo’s next home console, codenamed NX, is to be released by the end of this year, the Wii U still has some life left in it. Blessed little machine, keeping on keeping on with great games despite its disappointing sales numbers.

Star Fox Zero is almost here, and Yooka-Laylee is a game that feels right at home on Nintendo’s console. But it’s the new, as-yet-unnamed Legend of Zelda title that has most gamers the most excited when it comes to these last days of the Wii U.

Series producer Eiji Aonuma has promised this latest entry will bring some drastic changes to the series, but what that means for sure is still a mystery. I can’t say what’s in store for Zelda Wii U, but I can say some of the things I’d like to see out of it. As much as I love the Zelda series, there are some conventions that could do with some change.

Here are five such things I’d like to see Zelda Wii U do to change up the series. Continue reading “Five Things I’d Like to see in The Legend of Zelda Wii U”

Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Now that it’s December, 2015 is nearing its end. Along with preparing for the holiday season (and subsequently, the one-year anniversary of this site), Star Wars, and New Year’s Resolutions that I’ll probably stick to for five days, December also serves as a time to reflect on the year ahead.

This future-hype naturally finds its way into the world of video games as well. So as we all prepare to look back at the best games of 2015, we also look forward to our most anticipated games of 2016. And I am no different!

The following are my top five most anticipated games of 2016. They may look a bit different from most people’s selections, but for one reason or another, these games all have my attention. Let’s start with a runner-up then get to the top five!

Runner-up: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Honestly, I had six games that stood out that I could choose from, so I feel guilty about placing any of them as a runner-up. But since a “top 6” list just sounds goofy, someone had to take the fall. Since Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam comes out in January, I don’t have much more of a wait. So that bumps it to a runner-up on this list of anticipation (just go with it).

Aside from Paper Mario: Sticker Star, there hasn’t been a bad Mario RPG. Though Dream Team was a considerable step down from Bowser’s Inside Story, I have high hopes for Paper Jam. Being a crossover between Mario’s two ongoing RPG series, Paper Jam has the potential to bring a new sense of creativity to the Mario RPG formula.

I do have to wonder where Mario RPGs will go from here though. After you have both series cross paths, it seems like it would be a good time to give Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi a break, and maybe start a new direction for the Mario RPGs. But maybe that’s just me.

Now on to the top 5!

5: Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3

Platform: Multiplatform

Dark Souls is one of the better modern franchises in gaming (even if I kinda suck at it), and I’m really excited to die repeatedly play this new entry. I do kind of hope it adds more to the series than Dark Souls II did though. As great of a game as it was, I don’t want the third entry to just do what the first two already did. I hope DS3 can take all the good things from the series (of which there are many) and add some new twists into the mix as well.

What makes the Dark Souls series great is that it really feels like a modernized version of the kinds of games you’d play on the NES back in the day. It’s incredibly difficult, focused entirely on gameplay, and features a kind of progression that would feel at home on an 8-bit console. Yet it also feels brand new. The series has so far continued this trend through three games (remember, Demon Souls was the first game, Dark Souls was the second), and I’m confident it can repeat its success for a fourth time.

4: Star Fox Zero

Star Fox Zero

Platform: Wii U

Lack of multiplayer aside, Star Fox Zero looks to be the return to form I’ve been waiting for from the series. The gameplay looks like a modernized Star Fox 64, none of the weirdly sexualized characters from the subsequent games are present, and the story is going back to basics. It pretty much looks like the proper follow-up to Star Fox 64, which has somehow not yet happened in almost two decades.

If Star Fox Zero does indeed end up being this generation’s Star Fox 64, then it will be well worth the wait. Now I just hope the game’s delay into 2016 means they’re adding a multiplayer mode.

3: Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9

Platform: Multiplatform

Though the Red Ash Kickstarter fiasco might have put a sour taste in gamer’s mouths in regards to Keiji Inafune’s Comcept studio, I’m still super excited for Mighty No. 9.

It’s hard to believe Mega Man hasn’t appeared in a game outside of Super Smash Bros. for over five years. But if Capcom won’t let us have the Blue Bomber, at least we have a spiritual sequel to look forward to.

Mighty No. 9 really does look like a Mega Man title, and hopefully the gameplay and level design can live up to that heralded series. As a huge bonus, the game looks to feature several different additional modes to add some replayability and change up the experience.

2: The Legend of Zelda Wii U

Zelda Wii U

Platform: Wii U (but maybe NX)

The latest “proper” addition in The Legend of Zelda series looks to be the most ambitious entry yet. It could be one of the last great Wii U games, or one of the first great NX ones. Or both.

The Legend of Zelda is one of gaming’s greatest series, and a new home console entry is always a big deal. But this one in particular seems to be aiming to change up Zelda conventions, and hopefully, as we learn more about the game, that becomes more apparent.

Though I really wish Nintendo would give the series another art direction as daring as The Wind Waker, I like the new cel-shaded look. It looks a lot like a more advanced take on what Skyward Sword did visually. But while Skyward Sword used its visuals to guise the aging technology of the Wii, this new Zelda actually looks to be taking full advantage of its hardware.

My two great hopes for Zelda Wii U is that it really does change up the series, since Zelda games, great as they are, lack the consistent sense of newness of its sister series, Super Mario, and that the main adventure is only as long as it needs to be. I’m actually among those who loved Skyward Sword, but I admit that game would have been better if it were trimmed a few hours shorter. There’s no need to stretch a game’s length just for the heck of it. I’ll take a 10 hour game that feels complete over a 60 hour one that feels largely comprised of filler.

Anyway, it’s Zelda. Of course I have it on this list!

1: Yooka-Laylee

Yooka-Laylee

Platform: Multiplatform

Rare made some of the greatest video games of my youth. With a resume that includes the likes of Donkey Kong Country 2 (arguably the best 2D platformer), Banjo-Kazooie (arguably the best 3D platformer until Mario went to space), Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, and so many other classics, it’s a wonder how the developer has fallen so far from grace over the last decade.

Yooka-Laylee is something of a dream come true for me. The new studio Playtonic Games – founded by a small group of some of Rare’s finest former developers – debuted the game as a spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series in a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. And so far, everything about the game is looking like a modernized version of the Banjo-Kazooie style of platformer.

Playtonic has been vocal in saying that the game isn’t merely a re-skin of Banjo-Kazooie, however, and that Yooka-Laylee is making the winning formula new again. The collectibles will all serve a purpose, the game will have a greater sense of freedom in exploration, and players will have some forms of customization in gameplay and progression.

After Nuts & Bolts more or less kicked Banjo-Kazooie fans in the… nuts & bolts, Yooka-Laylee looks like the proper follow-up to Banjo-Tooe that I’ve waited fifteen years for. It was even the first game on Kickstarter I’ve helped fund. The only other game I’ve funded since was Red Ash. And well, let’s just move on.

Yooka-Laylee simply looks to bring back a style of game that’s been all but forgotten in the last few console generations. Given the minds behind it, I have a lot of confidence they’ll be able to pull it off. Really, there’s no reason why Yooka-Laylee wouldn’t be my most anticipated game of 2016.