Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LEGO Worlds (PS4, XB1, PC) Review

LEGO Worlds was an anticipated game of mine for a while, and now I have played it. Unfortunately, the highly-inspired-by-Minecraft game is less than a success. Here is SuperPhillip Central's review of LEGO Worlds, based off of the PlayStation 4 build.

LE'GO My Minecraft!

Going in to LEGO Worlds, my imagination was running wild and my excitement was an enormously elevated level. All of the possibilities of exploring regions devised up completely of LEGO blocks, being able to customize the world, build whatever I wanted, and the like enthused me greatly. However, no sooner than I immersed myself in one of LEGO Worlds' actual worlds, did I see my thoughts of being unable to unleash my creativity fall to wayside and crumble one by one. For every thing that LEGO Worlds does right, there are an abundance of problems that keep it from being the most important thing for a game like this -- fun.

The main goal of LEGO Worlds is to collect Gold Bricks, something that LEGO game fans should known of all too well. Gold Bricks are the main collectible in pretty much every modern LEGO game. It's no exception here in LEGO Worlds, and unlike those other games, it's mandatory to collect these if you want to make actual progress within the game. Gold Bricks are gained by doing an assortment of tasks, whether objective-based like fetching four pigs for a farmer or painting a tree in a whimsical, magical color for a queen, or exploration-based such as searching the underground of a world for hidden treasure chests containing your desired golden reward.

The Fast and the Furious: Upper Middle Class Suburb Edition!
Herein lies the first problem with LEGO Worlds. Many of its objectives are far too tedious and border on absolutely, obscenely repetitive as you continue on through the game. Collecting Gold Bricks is only good for two things: upgrading your builder rank, which bestows new tools and gadgets to assist in building stuff, and for getting Xbox and Steam achievements or PlayStation trophies. When a lot of objectives from NPCs to satisfy their quests are not described clearly enough, it makes for plenty of frustrating aggravation.

Don't worry -- most creatures don't mind giving you a ride.
As for adventuring, a part of open world experiences is being able to do whatever you want, however you want. This is true with LEGO Worlds, but this can sometimes be a hindrance. For instance, when it concerns exploring, one could stumble upon the entrance to a dungeon or see that gold beam of light is shining from the ground, indicating a Gold Brick or interesting find underneath. But why do the hard work of avoiding traps and hazards inside the dungeon or slogging around randomized worlds to find that cave to enter the underground when you can just use the game's tools to remove the ground, delete walls, and obliterate the topography as you see fit to sort of cheat your way to get it? Since LEGO Worlds' exploration and finding things isn't that enjoyable, that's the way I went about finding things underground and completing dungeons, because why do the hard work if the process to do it isn't even fun to begin with?

Take to the skies, venture 'neath the depths, or stick to land. It's your choice and your worlds to explore.
LEGO Worlds has a versatile editor in it, allowing you to interact and morph any block in the world, whether it's a dirt ground, a rock wall, a boiling block of lava, a fluffy cloud -- whatever. You can create buildings and objects old school through the traditional brick-by-brick method, or you can use various tools to copy and duplicate pre-made structures and edit them as you see fit. These pre-made structures such as buildings and objects of varying size and scale can be found by using a specific gadget to make note of them and then buying the "right", if you will, to plant them around the world at your leisure.

Want to make a suburban city block? You can do it, but it might be a bit annoying!
Regardless, as an editor itself, LEGO Worlds offers one that is quite cumbersome and hard to work with. If you were wanting an experience as easy as clipping two real world LEGO blocks together, you're going to be severely disappointed. It takes a lot of patience and practice to build anything worth bragging about in LEGO Worlds. For a game meant for all ages, particularly skewed towards the young demographic, I feel that what LEGO Worlds' editor is currently is too difficult and not intuitive for most players. Good editors give some leeway with its tools and if you make a mistake, it's usually easy to clear up. With factors like 3D, little guidance, and the like, I wouldn't consider what LEGO Worlds has a good editor.

Then, there is just the terrible controls in general. This is no better exemplified than in the combat, which is just terrible, even for the LEGO series, which obviously isn't the bastion for deep battle systems by any stretch of the imagination. It's all about looking at the direction of your enemy and hitting the attack button. It wouldn't be awful if you always hit your intended target, but most of the time your character will engage with another enemy with wild swings that occasionally hit their targets. It's another aspect of LEGO Worlds that is just undercooked and lame, despite offering more weapon possibilities than any modern LEGO game before it. It merely makes the combat all the more disappointing.

Boogeying on the bagpipes -- that copper will allow it!
Performance on home consoles and PC isn't much an improvement either. A steady frame-rate is not what you will get in LEGO Worlds. Instead, you'll get slideshow-style frame-rate issues. It's understandable given the randomly generated worlds and how much is being loaded, but still, it just ends up being a pain to enjoy the worlds you explore when most actions and even camera movements result in slowdown. Long load times, pop up and pop in, problems with viewing dialogue and UI information, and more also left me a bit jaded with my LEGO Worlds experience.

Considering how buggy LEGO games have been in the past, I really shouldn't have been surprised with how many performance-related issues and gameplay problems I saw with LEGO Worlds, as even a linear LEGO game has problematic occurrences, so a greater scope of LEGO game makes sense that it's worse off in both performance and gameplay. LEGO Worlds is indeed an interesting idea for a LEGO game, and if the execution was better, there was more polish, and enough time was invested in it, it could have been a home run and capable competitor to Minecraft. As it is now, LEGO Worlds is merely a glitch-filled, weak attempt with a poor editor that tries to do everything Minecraft does better but ends up doing very little right.

[SPC Says: D+]

Monday, June 19, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "E3 Withdrawal" Edition

Still reeling from E3, SuperPhillip Central is having withdrawal symptoms. We gotta have more game announcements, more new trailers, more joy, but alas, that time is now over. Thus, we must move on to a new week, and like any new week, we begin with SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. Here, one piece of music for five different video games apiece (five pieces of music total, if your brain is fried like mine usually is) is showcased with a link, imagine, and brief introduction.

This week we're featuring some big games in the form of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and we continue with that three-quel trend with Dark Souls III. The Dark Knight follows with a theme from Batman: Arkham Knight just before Kratos storms on to the scene with God of War II. Last but not least, one of many black sheeps in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VIII wraps up this "E3 Withdrawal" edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs.

Click on the big link above each image to hear the song mentioned. Additionally, the VGM Database houses every game and piece of music ever showcased on this weekly series. Now, let's get on to the music!

v1421. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (PS4, XB1, PC) - Geralt of Rivia

We begin with a series and a game that I don't think has been covered yet on SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs is The Witcher, so why not fix this glaring omission by including The Witcher III: Wild Hunt as the first VGM volume of this edition! That's exactly what we're going to do with this rousing main theme for the game that is as big of a musical adventure as the game is an enjoyable one! Majestic, bold, brave, and just all-around fantastic, Wild Hunt's main theme is one for the ages.

v1422. Dark Souls III (PS4, XB1, PC) - Main Menu

Dark Souls as a series is not for those with weak wills, low patience, or the feint of heart. Probably why I've only watched someone play several games in the series rather than played them myself. That said, I would be remiss if I didn't take the time to enjoy the series' soundtracks, featuring some really well done music, both melodic and atmospheric. Dark Souls III's main menu might be familiar to those who followed the game leading up to its release, as this theme is the same music played during the game's trailer at Gamescom in 2015.

v1423. Batman: Arkham City (Multi) - You Should Have Listened to My Warning

Nick Arundel's work on Batman: Arkham City remains my favorite video game soundtrack in the Arkham series. Riveting strings, tense, thrilling music, and just a tremendous sense of anticipation builds throughout a wide number of tracks throughout Batman: Arkham City. It doesn't hurt either that out of the Dark Knight's many nighttime outings that Arkham City remains one of my favorites!

v1424. God of War II (PS2) - Colossus of Rhodes

All in a god's work for Kratos as God of War II plunges players directly into an action sequence even better and greater in scale than the Hydra in the original God of War. In the sequel, Kratos is pursued at various points of the introductory area by the Colossus of Rhodes, before finally doing battle with the iron beast. The music in the God of War series is most certainly epic, and the theme for the Colossus of Rhodes supports that line of thinking considerably.

v1425. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) - Liberi Fatali

Played during the opening cutscene of Final Fantasy VIII, Liberi Fatali is one of main themes from the game, taking much of its motifs from Edea's Theme. The combination of a rousing orchestra with Latin chanting as Squall and Seifer wield dueling blades remains one of my favorite openings in any video game. I believe Final Fantasy IV through IX was Nobuo Uematsu's strongest period in his composing career.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Top Ten Newly Announced Games at E3 2017

E3 2017 has come and gone, and as always what follows is a feeling of emptiness and sadness. Have no fear, though -- SuperPhillip Central is here to keep the hype flowing with the site's list for the top ten newly announced games from the show! This titles must have officially been revealed at E3 2017 and not leaked beforehand or unveiled elsewhere (sorry, Dragon Ball Fighter Z). Now that the stuffy official rules have been sorted through, let's get to the games!

10) Beyond Good & Evil 2 (TBD)

We begin with a game announcement that has been long past due for many who absolutely adored the PlayStation 2 era original Beyond Good & Evil. The sequel has been officially announced, but it's a bit of monkey's paw. Not only was the game presented just a teaser trailer that had an obnoxious teenage edge to it with how many times they could fit in the word "f--k" or some variation of it, but after the show it was revealed that the game is hardly even in development (actually, "day zero" according to the team) and the devs were thinking about putting the game on Early Access. If there was meat to this game and there was a chance it was coming out any time soon, then Beyond Good & Evil 2 would be much higher on this list.

9) Super Lucky's Tale (XB1, PC)

The more 3D platformers put front and center at the big three's E3 showings, the better, and that's exactly what Microsoft did with the reveal of Super Lucky's Tale. Lucky isn't a new IP, as it appeared as an Oculus Rift VR-only game, but now the precocious young fox gets his own charming 3D platforming adventure, which is right up my alley. Sure, it definitely won't appeal to the main demographic for the Xbox One or Microsoft's newly announced Xbox One X (formerly known as Scorpio), but that will be those players' losses. Everyone else will get to play what appears to be an engrossing run and jump with captivating worlds and characters to engage with. As a lover of 3D platformers and just the platforming genre in general, this was a good get by Microsoft to expand its library on Xbox One.

8) Kirby for Nintendo Switch (NS)

Lots of games were revealed with gameplay footage at Nintendo's E3 2017 showcase, but Kirby for Nintendo Switch is one of the only ones that didn't get a live gameplay demonstration at the Nintendo Treehouse Live three-day series of streams that followed. Based off of the adorable footage in this 2D entry in the Kirby franchise, and the first traditional Kirby game on a home console since 2011 with the Wii's Return to Dream Land, Kirby's first Switch game has him able to recruit enemy helpers to join his cause, combine powers a la Kirby 64, and use a wide assortment of copy abilities, as per usual with most Kirby games. With a 2018 planned release year, there's certainly plenty more to uncover about Kirby for Nintendo Switch, and I'm quite excited to see what other surprises HAL and Nintendo have in store.

7) Yoshi for Nintendo Switch (NS)

From one cute Nintendo platforming staple to another, Yoshi's last outing was on both the Wii U and later the Nintendo 3DS with Yoshi's Woolly World. Developer Good Feel continues the real world influence with a diorama style to the scenery and level design with Yoshi's first expedition on the Nintendo Switch. The game offers cooperative play with two players, worlds constructed out of cardboard, felt, toilet paper rolls, shoe boxes,and many other materials (sort of how my middle school self thought Yoshi's Story looked at the time of release), and interaction with Yoshi's egg on the Z-axis level to make a much more 3D-like adventure. Like Kirby's Nintendo Switch adventure, Yoshi for Nintendo Switch will also be making a 2018 appearance.

6) Anthem (PS4, XB1, PC)

Seemingly everyone is gunning to take the multiplayer throne from Destiny, even a development team known for its single-player RPGs with BioWare. The Mass Effect developer now has Anthem, originally revealed at EA's press conference at E3, but fully shown at Microsoft's. The game allows for epic battles on a hostile post-apocalyptic planet Earth teeming with waves upon waves of enemies that don't take too kindly to you and your crew. Select between multiple classes occupying a number of different abilities to them, and aid your teammates in hectic battles against an enormous swath of foes. Obviously it's far too early to guess if BioWare's new direction towards a multiplayer-centric Destiny-inspired game will work out for them, but it's not too early to say that Anthem definitely looks the part.

5) Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)

Third time's the charm, hopefully! No, I'm not saying that the past two iterations of Shadow of the Colossus, its PS2 original and its PS3 remastering, were bad. I'm saying I'm hoping that after this third time, this magnificent looking PlayStation 4 remake that I'll finally play the darn thing in full! Shadow of the Colossus is frequently mentioned in debates and conversations of best PlayStation games, and moreover said to be one of the better games of all time. That makes it fantastic that Sony's Japan Studio is taking the time and dedication to make sure that this remake checks all the boxes of what a fantastic remake should be, such as balancing a fine line between new improvements and familiar gameplay. Shadow of the Colossus is set to release some time next year.

4) Metroid Prime 4 (NS)

You might consider me a hypocrite for arguing that a game with zero real gameplay footage in Beyond Good & Evil 2 is listed at number ten on my list while a game like Metroid Prime 4 with no footage outside of a logo is number four. Well, in some ways, you would be correct, and I can't really argue against that. However, I strongly doubt that Metroid Prime 4 hasn't even begun development, nor will the franchise take such a contrasted direction like Beyond Good & Evil 2 seems to be. (That is unless Metroid Prime 4 has Samus spouting f-bombs all over the place and it's a totally different genre than what fans loved about the originals.) Regardless, this announcement was long awaited after much of the Nintendo and Metroid fandoms were going nuts with pessimism if the series would ever be seen again. As someone that has the very first Metroid Prime game as one of his favorites of all time, just the promise of a new Metroid Prime game in development was a winning one for me.

3) Monster Hunter World (PS4, XB1, PC)

I personally don't care about the console war politics about Monster Hunter. Really, the only thing that bums me out is that the Nintendo 3DS audience in the west was the one that made Monster Hunter a success over here, and now that segment of gamers is being "thanks for your help, but you're fired" by Capcom essentially. However, Monster Hunter World (first releasing on PS4 and Xbox One early next year with a PC release to follow) looks to take everything fans of the franchise love and makes it bigger and better. I was so happy to see Monster Hunter in full HD with all of the things that the franchise is known for while adding new additions to spice things up. Here's hoping that Capcom's bet that western PS4, Xbox One, and PC players will take to Monster Hunter is a winning one!

2) Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)

There's no question that Metroid Prime 4 shook the rafters with the hype of Metroid fans longing for a new Metroid game, but the fan base didn't just get that game to look forward, they got a second one! Metroid: Samus Returns is a Mercury Steam-developed re-imagining of Metroid II: Return of Samus, built exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. With Nintendo's careful watching over the project and Mercury Steam doing the heavy lifting of the game, Samus Returns is shaping up to be everything Metroid fans wanted out of the franchise for longest time. To many, Metroid: Other M and especially Federation Force (both games I happened to like for different reasons, regardless) were disappointments to put it lightly, so this 2D Metroid takes the series back to where it belongs. Plus, with a September 15 release date, 3DS owners won't have to wait long at all for the game!

1) Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (NS)

After a couple of months of bickering and complaints that this was the dumbest crossover in gaming history, many of these same people ate some serious crow (and did so with great satisfaction for being proven wrong) after Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was officially revealed for Nintendo Switch after it had been previously leaked via marketing materials. The game looks absolutely insane and in a good way while showing obviously love and appreciation for the project and all of the characters included. The creative director at Ubisoft's E3 show, after months of leaked materials and most calling the game a horrible idea, was so happy that he was on the verge of tears that his project was being accepted and applauded by the gaming media and public is one of my highlights of the entire show. I can't wait to get my hands on Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle when it launches this August.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries - Part Eleven

If you've been around SuperPhillip Central for a little while (it's still okay if you haven't, so no harm done), then you know that I like talking about underrated and overlooked games. I've done various series on the subject. However, most of the time, the games mentioned in these articles are from wholly new or overlooked franchises themselves.

There are also a multitude of series that I can think of that have one, two, or a handful of games in it that aren't viewed as highly as the others, whether just or not.

These ideas are where the concept of All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries comes from, and since our tenth edition, I've come up with six more underrated entries to big-time franchises, some bigger than others. If you'd like to see past parts of this long-running series, check them out here:

BioShock - BioShock 2 (Multi)

Of the three major BioShock games released, BioShock 2 seems to be the least appreciated due to having so many similarities to its predecessor. Sure, returning to Rapture didn't cause as much excitement as the theatrics of seeing it for the first time and how that reveal was handled in the original BioShock, but the first-person shooting elements, playing as a prototype for a Big Daddy, and taking on hordes of psychotic human enemies made for an engaging and enjoyable campaign. We got to see an expansion of the ideas presented in the original BioShock, and again, while BioShock 2 did feel like retreading familiar ground, it's very much worthy of being a part of the exquisite BioShock trilogy.

Prince of Persia - Prince of Persia (2008) (PS3, 360, PC)

Prince of Persia's 2008 reboot brought with it equal amounts of freshness into the series and disappointment in regards to ending on a cliffhanger that will most likely never be resolved. The game's superb cel-shaded art style made it stand out from the crowd, especially in a gaming generation that was consumed by a lot of brown, grey, and dark colors when it released. With a partner in crime, each needing each other to get through the game's maze of chambers and pathways, the amount of ways the main character could use his agility and mobility to progress was astounding. Unfortunately, Prince of Persia as a franchise is back on hiatus after a series of low-selling entries, despite the 2008 offering being one truly fantastic title.

Donkey Kong - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Between being on a failed system and having so many Nintendo fans ticked off that Retro Studios' talents were somehow "wasted" on another Donkey Kong Country game, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was a mighty 2D platformer that stands tall as one of the greatest of the genre -- yes, even outdoing Rare's efforts, something I never thought I'd ever write. From its levels that bring a wide assortment of thematic obstacles and challenges together to form cohesive stages to its wild abundance of character and charm, it's an absolute shame that Tropical Freeze is currently stuck on the Wii U. More people need to play this amazing game that surpasses even many of the 2D platforming god, Mario's many exploits. No hyperbole either.

Pokemon - Pokemon Colosseum (GCN)

When people talk about Pokemon, most of the time they refer to or allude to the handheld releases. After all, that's where Nintendo and The Pokemon Company puts most of their releases in the series and where Pokemon originated. Some table scraps, if you will, have been thrown out to console owners, but most of the time if you want a Pokemon game, you better have one of Nintendo's handhelds. Pokemon Colosseum wasn't just a new console spin-off for the Nintendo GameCube, but it was also a full-blown adventure -- not to be confused with a traditional mainline Pokemon release. As Wes, you explored the Orre region, investigating a nefarious group known as Team Cipher who was corrupting Pokemon, turning them into Shadow Pokemon. Having an adventure-based Pokemon game with the traditional battles of the handheld games was a breath of fresh air for the franchise, and although it did well commercially for a GameCube release, few really talk about it nowadays. A shame, as it's really a worthwhile entry for a console Pokemon game.

Mega Man - Mega Man & Bass (GBA)

Originally released on the Super Famicom in Japan only, Western gamers finally got an official (see: legal) chance to play Mega Man & Bass, although it was on the smaller screen of the Game Boy Advance. This meant there was less room to see upcoming hazards unlike the fuller Super Famicom release. Regardless, the ability to play as either Mega Man or Bass (introduced in Mega Man 7), each with their own advantages and disadvantages, a challenging difficulty, multiple collectibles in the form of data discs featuring every Robot Master in past Mega Man games, and the same, fun, old Mega Man gameplay fans knew the series for made this 15th anniversary game a great one. Sure, I've never beaten the damn thing because it gets ridiculously hard after the initial eight Robot Masters are defeated, but Mega Man & Bass remains an enjoyable handheld romp, and an underrated Mega Man game in general.

Mario Party - Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS)

ND Cube is a collection of developers who used to work for Hudson Soft, making past Mario Party games. However, since ND Cube has taken over as developer of the Mario Party series, the quality of the games has been up and down (mostly down). That said, Mario Party: Island Tour for the Nintendo 3DS featured some of the most engaging and enjoyable mini-games as a whole in any Mario Party in history. Plus, the whole "let's all ride in one car" mechanic introduced in Mario Party 9 was gone. Instead, each of Island Tour's six boards (one of which was only available for 3-4 players) had a different objective to it with varied obstacles that got in the way of doing that. Whether it was playing cautiously by hiding in an alcove or chancing fate by being in the possible path of a Banzai Bill, or collecting as many Mini-Stars as possible before reaching the end of a board, each board gave some form of variation. Throw in some appealing bonus modes like a mini-game tower to unlock secret characters, and I feel that this Mario Party was unfairly criticized and spat on.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Classics I Can Return To - Part Eight

Hello, everyone! I hope you're enjoying E3 2017 whether you're actually in Los Angeles or consuming every bit of new possible via video or on sites like these. Welcome to another installment of Classics I, your owner and main operator of SuperPhillip Central, Phil, Can Return To! This series of articles goes into seemingly infinitely replayable games that I either actually do play quite often or will come back to eventually. They're either games that are full blown classics or games that I perceive to be modern classics. This part of Classics contains a mix of the two, featuring franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, and Grand Theft Auto, to name a few. What games that you consider classics do you find yourself coming back to?

For past parts of Classics I Can Return To, here are all seven for your convenience.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS, Wii U)

Certainly a contender for Game of the Year so far, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild "breathed" new life into The Legend of Zelda franchise as a whole after so many entries following the same standard formula for so long. It took inspiration mostly from the very first game as seen on the NES, featuring a world you can easily get lost in (where that was most of the fun), little direction to guide you from place to place, and a means to go wherever you wanted (but not without it own obvious risks in doing so). Just one play-through can feel infinite in itself with everything you can do. I've played over 80 hours (and that's on the short side of most folks' time with the game), and I'm still witnessing new things in the world, new places to find, and things I can do with enemies, the environments, and objects that I never even knew existed. Breath of the Wild is an insanely well crafted open world game that didn't just breathe new life to Zelda as previously mentioned, but breathed new life into the open world sub-genre of games.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (NS)

It says something about the quality and entertainment factor of a game where I can enjoy the original and play it for so many dozens of hours and feel compelled to buy an upgraded and updated version on another console. Mario Kart 8 was one of those games that did well on the Wii U but was limited in features for the most part (and stuck on a doomed console). Nintendo cleverly ported the game to the Nintendo Switch, which is doing awesomely so far, but added new content to make the upgrade worth it. Such new content included a totally revamped and improved Battle Mode (featuring five modes and actual battle arenas this time around instead of retro-fitted tracks from the Grand Prix mode), new characters, new kart pieces, new accessibility features, and much more. This was all while including every bit of content including the DLC from the original Wii U Mario Kart 8. With that, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a winner in my book, a worthwhile purchase despite already logging so many hours into the Wii U original, and a game I obviously can replay without issue.

Grand Theft Auto V (Multi)

Speaking of games I purchased again because I loved them so much and the upgrades were wholly worthwhile, we have one of the best selling games of all time with Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar and Take Two are killing it with the game, constantly showing up on monthly and weekly bestseller charts in both North America and Europe respectively. The story campaign alone is deep enough and filled with so much content that it could take months to fully digest it all, especially if you just like to joyride around the city, causing trouble, and having an entourage of cops cars on your tail. However, the real longevity of Grand Theft Auto V comes from its online counterpart, included with the game. Constantly updated with fresh features, Grand Theft Auto Online continues to get support from Rockstar and is key in why the game is easy to want to come back to for many players, including myself.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

With a new trailer shown at E3 2017 of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which is an expansion story to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, why not mention Nathan Drake's final chapter? It is in fact a modern classic by every meaning of the world. The globetrotting adventure is larger than ever before, the stakes are positively at their highest, the story is engrossing and engaging, and the various action moments in the game are to die for. Well, not literally, unless you let an enemy flank you, or you miss a jump, or you get blown to smithereens by a grenade. That notwithstanding, I hope to have a review of Uncharted 4 by the end of this month as a means to have a look back at the game a year after its release and far beyond the hype. Though as the game is on a list of games I'll come back to, it's probably no surprise how much I still enjoy it.

Super Metroid (SNES)

With not one but two new Metroid titles announced at E3 (which should appease Metroid fans for all but a minute probably), it's the perfect opportunity to bring up one of Samus Aran's most fondly remembered missions. That mission was in the Super Nintendo classic, Super Metroid. Whether I was intricately exploring every inch of Zebes for secret alcoves containing energy or missile upgrades, or trying to complete the game as fast as possible by speed-running it, Super Metroid was a game got in to far after its initial release. In fact, my first time playing it was on the Wii Virtual Console. You could say with all of my play-throughs of the game now that I've more than made up for lost time.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)

We conclude this edition of Classics I Can Return To with by far my favorite 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game, Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It combines both Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its expansion, Sonic & Knuckles, into one lengthy adventure encapsulating multiple playable characters, Chaos and Master Emeralds to collect, and new story elements not found in either Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles by themselves. This cyborg of Sonic games (even the construction of putting the Sonic 3 cartridge into the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge looked some mechanical monstrosity) features my favorite collection of zones in any Sonic game, and there are seldom any moments I dread playing, which I can't say for any other Sonic adventure. While I enjoyed other 2D Sonics, even modern ones like the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series, Sonic 3 & Knuckles remains my top tier 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game.


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