Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Monster Hunter: World (PS4, XB1, PC) TGS 2017 Trailer

With the Tokyo Game Show this week, new trailers are popping up all over the place. Perhaps the most interesting for Japan (where the series is king) is Monster Hunter: World, completely redefining the gameplay experience from past Monster Hunter games. A release date of January 26, 2018 was announced as well for worldwide release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a PC version to launch afterwards with no announced date yet.

Monday, September 18, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "Mario Kart" Edition

Welcome to the beginning of a new week here at SuperPhillip Central. Generally, on Mondays, we start the week with an edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. That tradition continues with this Mario Kart-themed edition, spotlighting five themes from five individual entries in Nintendo's long, lasting arcade racing series.

Jetting off the starting marker with a well-timed button press before Lakitu's count goes down to 1, we flip and fly with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Following that, with dive and glide with Mario Kart 7. Then, we keep the lead in tow with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart 64, before crossing over the finish line in record time with Super Mario Kart.

Click on the big and bold VGM volume name to hear that song via YouTube video, and remember: the VGM Database has every song ever featured in this weekly ongoing series of articles. Now, let's get on to the music!

v1471. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (NS) - Lunar Colony

Let's boost out of the starting line with the most recent Mario Kart outing on there, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an updated port of the Wii U original. Deluxe came jam-packed with all of the content of the original Wii U release, such as its roster, tracks (including all of the initial DLC now on the game itself), and modes. Well, the latter isn't exactly true. In fact, one of the fresh aspects of Deluxe was the revamped Battle Mode, taking place in actual arenas rather than retro-fitted tracks lifted from Grand Prix mode. Lunar Colony, with its chill guitar and electronic accompaniment, is one of such arena featured in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's new and improved Battle Mode.

v1472. Mario Kart 7 (3DS) - Wuhu Loop

Returning from Wii Sports Resort, Wuhu Island gets representation in Mario Kart 7 three times: twice in the Grand Prix modes as two different tracks and once in Battle Mode as one of the arenas. The first of these Grand Prix tracks takes place in the Flower Cup, and it's a three-stage race as opposed to a three-lap one. It's a glorious and satisfying trip around Wuhu Island, hence the racetrack's name, Wuhu Loop! Race through the heart of Wuhu Town, cross the historic red suspension bridge, race alongside the ocean on a cliff side path, and meander around the island in this wonderful race.

v1473. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN) - Peach Beach & Daisy Cruiser

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! ended up being a nostalgic favorite for me, which is weird because I spent more time playing Mario Kart 64, its console predecessor. Regardless, the bright and bouncy visuals, "two characters per kart" racing mechanic, memorable tracks (at least for me), and endless nights of enjoyable multiplayer made for a Mario Kart entry I really liked. This theme, VGM volume 1473, plays during two tracks within Double Dash!!, one in the early tropical beach track Peach Beach, and the other aboard the Daisy Cruiser. Both of these venues are great for soaking in some sun while ruining others' racing vacations via banana peels, shells, and lightning bolts.

v1474. Mario Kart 64 (N64) - Rainbow Road

I talked about how Double Dash!! was a more nostalgic for me as opposed to the Mario Kart entry I played much more, Mario Kart 64. However, thinking back, there was so much to dislike about 64, from the insane rubber-band AI to the handling of the karts themselves. One thing that Mario Kart 64 beats the pants off most games in the series is without question the astounding music. Through all the themes, there isn't a loser in the bunch, and all fans of the soundtrack like myself can thank game composer Kenta Nagata for that.

v1475. Super Mario Kart (SNES) - Mario Circuit

We head to the finish line with SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs in style here with the original Mario Kart experience, Super Mario Kart from the SNES. Mario Circuit is the very first Mushroom Cup race, and it eases players into Super Mario Kart with gentle curves and minimal obstructions so they can get a grip on the game's controls.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rank Up - Animal Crossing (Ranking the Series' Entries)

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of when Animal Crossing debuted on the Nintendo GameCube in North America. Commemorating the occasion is this all-new edition of Rank Up, where SuperPhillip Centrals ranks the Animal Crossing series' six games from worst to first.

The 2002 release was based off the Japan-only Nintendo 64 game, Animal Forest. That game would see a port to the GameCube in Japan, and this version would be the rest of the gaming world's first taste of the series. Believe you me that one taste was all most players needed to get seriously enraptured with the franchise.

Doing otherwise mundane chores in real life doesn't sound like much fun in a video game, but when the package is surrounded by humorously written characters, an abundance of charm, and so much content that you could play for two years and still not see everything, one can't help but be enticed. As the games are mostly set to the internal clock of each system they're on, everything happens in real time, such as holidays and meetups with other characters.

However, while mentioning the traditional gameplay of the Animal Crossing series, this ranking of Animal Crossing games also includes the two recent 2015 spin-off titles which play quite differently. Additionally, small applications like those seen on the Nintendo 3DS eShop will not be included in this Rank Up.

Before we begin, these are the games I'll be ranking:

Animal Crossing (GCN) - 2002
Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS) - 2005
Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii) - 2008
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS) - 2013
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS) - 2015
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (Wii U) - 2015

After you check out my order of games, which Animal Crossing entry is your favorite -- that is, if you're partial to the series at all!

6) Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (Wii U)

We begin SuperPhillip Central's ranking of the Animal Crossing series with a spin-off title that was insulting to say the least. Made to throw a bone (albeit an extremely bitter one) for starved Wii U gamers looking for something to play during the final major holiday season of the console, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival was ND Cube's attempt at bringing the world of furry and friendly villagers into the realm of board games. Sounds like a fun premise at first, almost Mario Party-ish, but then you get to the realization that the game practically played itself with little-to-no interaction from players. Worse off, was the overabundance of Animal Crossing-related amiibo that still haunt store shelves to day -- many of which are sold buy-one-get-one or even buy-one-get-two!

5) Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)

While this particular game in the Animal Crossing series was indeed a spin-off like the Wii U's amiibo Festival, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer offered a lot more for players to enjoy. Of course, this wasn't your typical Animal Crossing game as it merely took one of the most loved aspects of the AC experience, home decoration, and made an entire game out of it. Unfortunately, if you weren't serious about making beautiful designs, you could just cheese through the game as there was no grade system to determine if you succeeded or failed a customer's design. For those that love the customization experience in the Animal Crossing series, Happy Home Designer extended upon that aspect to grant players amazing possibilities with their imaginations.

4) Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)

The Wii was a really good time for Nintendo, but many fans and gamers at the time thought that the company was seeking out the casual market more than those who are more involved in gaming as a hobby. This got to a breaking point at E3 2008 where the whole Wii Music showing occurred, and the scraps given to Nintendo fans was the announcement that a new Animal Crossing would be the major "hardcore" game for Wii owners for that holiday season. With that background info, Animal Crossing: City Folk wasn't a poor experience at all. However, in comparison to the entries released before it, City Folk did little to innovative or feel like a wholly new experience. If anything, Animal Crossing: City Folk would basically be a console version of the Nintendo DS's Wild World if not for the new city section implemented into the Wii game.

3) Animal Crossing (GCN)

As stated earlier, this was the game that started a new franchise for Nintendo and a new addiction for countless players, Animal Crossing, and this edition of Rank Up was made to celebrate the series' 15th anniversary. A remade version of the Nintendo 64 Japan-only original, Animal Crossing on the GameCube is a game that brings me great nostalgia. This was the first time I took care of tasks for villagers, paid off my loan to Tom Nook, found fossils for the museum, caught bugs and fish to add to my collection, added new trinkets and pieces of furniture for my humble abode, and participated in the special holidays that could be found each and every month. Giving gifts on Toy Day, playing pranks on villagers on Halloween, counting down the New Year with my virtual friends, and just sinking hundreds upon hundreds of hours into Animal Crossing all year round are some of countless memories I attach to the original Animal Crossing.

2) Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)

Twas the holiday season of 2005 here in North America when Animal Crossing moved from a console experience to a portable one with Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. The game blew many people's minds to see the vast gaming experience of daily activities and happenings throughout their village that occurred on a big piece of gaming hardware like the GameCube and now see it shrunk down to fit the Nintendo DS. The largest innovation to Wild World was the addition of online play, allowing players to wirelessly connect over the Internet, visit one another's towns, trade items, chat together (in text form only), and just have a wondrous time playing together. A lot of great friendships were made playing this game online -- building our collections of furniture, clothing, and gear -- but now that the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection no longer is functional, these memories of playing Nintendo DS with some faraway friends are impossible to recreate in Wild World.

1) Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)

...But they weren't impossible for them to return in what I consider the greatest Animal Crossing game, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the most recent traditional entry in the series. This time around, online is taken care of by the Nintendo Network, offering a more robust lineup of options than ever before. However, the neatest change is when the first player on a given copy of New Leaf enters into the town and finds themselves the mayor. This opens up a whole slew of avenues, such as building public works projects like adding new monuments and areas of interest to your town (like benches, fountains, statues, and even windmills) and ordinances to help out in presenting helpful laws for your town such as things to make your village wealthier or ways from keeping weeds out of the town's grassy fields. Animal Crossing: New Leaf opened up so much to the player, and it wasn't quite done, as last year, a special "Welcome Amiibo" batch of content offered even more addicting activities to do in the happy go lucky world of Animal Crossing. There are plenty of reasons why the SuperPhillip Central household played this game for over 500 hours combined (and I might be underestimating that), but the main reason is that Animal Crossing: New Leaf is just a special package full of fun and charm.

Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy (3DS) New Trailer

A big Nintendo 3DS game that released only yesterday is, of course, Metroid: Samus Returns. Here's hoping the Nintendo 3DS titles launching afterwards in the coming months don't get looked over. One of which is the latest chapter in the Professor Layton saga, this time focusing on his daughter, Katrielle, who nabs the starring role. It seems all of the puzzles, charming characters and story quirks, and the amazing production values the Layton series is known for will be just fine following Katrielle Layton's lead. SuperPhillip Central will be solving some mysteries with Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires' Conspiracy when it launches early next month on the Nintendo 3DS.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS) Accolades Trailer

Months after its announcement at E3 2017, Nintendo and MercurySteam's Metroid: Samus Returns is now available on Nintendo 3DS. A re-imagined take of Metroid II: Return of Samus, this 3DS release brings so much freshness to the table that it's pretty much dissimilar to the original source material. SuperPhillip Central plans to cover Metroid: Samus Returns before this month wraps up with an in-depth review by yours truly!


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