Saturday, September 3, 2011

Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita) New Screenshots

New screenshots of the upcoming handheld adventure of Nathan Drake, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, have emerged. Now these may be doctored photos, and they may not be. They almost seem too good to be true, but we won't know until gamers get their hands on Sony's PlayStation Vita in Japan later this year. For now, glare in amazement at these astonishing pics.


Introducing Our Newest Affiliate... DigitallyDownloaded.net!


It's with a smile on my face that I introduce a new affiliate to SuperPhillip Central. It's none other than DigitallyDownloaded.net. This site, as the name suggests, covers mostly digital download software, but they've also extended their reach with articles such as underrated PlayStation 3 games of all things. Additionally, they publish an online magazine every month reviewing the newest DD games available for your hard-earned dollars. On a side note, I've also noticed that some of our former affiliates have ceased updating, so I'll have to take them off the list sometime soon.

You can find DigitallyDownloaded.net in the sidebar, or by clicking this link. Welcome, friends!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top Five Reasons to Hate Sony

We wrap up the work week with another top five list. It's time for some more vitriol here on SuperPhillip Central. This go around we're focusing it on Sony who went from first to worst in epic fashion. The words "$599 US Dollars" and "massive damage" will always haunt Sony and the Sony faithful. I hate to pick on a company while they're down, but let's find out exactly which five reasons are more than enough to despise Sony.

5) Their fanboys are the most idiotic this generation

Fanboys are ugly no matter which company they root for. Sony fanboys are the worst. Being in first was all these poor, diluted souls knew of. Now that Nintendo and even newcomer Microsoft are kicking them to the curb in sales, Sony's fanboys can't help but feel like going to multiple forums and trolling. They're everywhere-- GameFAQs, GameTrailers, NeoGAF-- everywhere. They are without a doubt the most obnoxious group in gaming right now. Thankfully not all Sony fanboys are annoying, but the vocal minority of them are. However, we thank ye for all your glorious meltdowns on message boards far and wide!

4) The PSN hacking fiasco

How awful was this? Millions in dollars lost, customer satisfaction down the pooper, and numerous hackers stealing credit card information were some of the effects of Sony's PlayStation Network getting hacked. You're foolish if you now save your credit card information to Sony's servers. They can't be trusted with it. The sheer incompetence of the company was staggering. Case in point: keep your credit cards away from Sony.

3) Old VS. New PlayStation 3s

Comparing old PS3s to new PS3s shows a lot to the unknowing eye. For one, new PS3s compared to old ones have a lot of features taken out such as backwards compatibility. Furthermore, old PlayStation 3s aren't built as well as they should be and break down much more easily. Who hasn't heard of the moniker of the "Yellow Light of Death"? When one receives this curse on their PlayStation 3, they can opt to send it in to Sony for repair for a costly fee. When they get it back, there's no guarantee that it will be stay fixed permanently. This means it can break down again, and the repair process begins anew, or they must purchase a Slim. Both options pretty much blow for the consumer.

2) They're reactionary and not revolutionary.

How many times have we seen Sony copy the competition? Most recently they bent over backwards to scoot past Nintendo's patent on the Wii remote and blatantly copied it to make the marketshare failure known as the PlayStation Move. Sony's company philosophy behind innovation is essentially see what Nintendo is doing and copy it, sometimes enhancing the technology by a half-step. We've seen this with rumble, analog sticks, and of course, as stated before, motion control tech. For shame, Sony. For shame.

1) They're in third place, and they're still cocky as can be.

Nothing like a distant third place company like Sony to be cocky to make them look like the jackasses they are. If Jack Tretton isn't opening his mouth and inserting his foot (remember when Phil Harrison informed us that rumble was a last gen feature?), some other Sony stooge is saying something stupid toward the competition. You look at a company like Nintendo who were humble when they were in last place, and you look at Sony who can't help being the company to root against (or for if you're one of the aforementioned obnoxious fanboys). Even their Kevin Butler commercials are heavy-handed with fanboy self-wanking propaganda. For being a Japanese company, a country known for being humble, Sony certainly doesn't show it.

===

As you can see, Sony is trying its hardest to be an unlikeable company. From having an inferior online structure compared to Microsoft to being stupidly cocky, Sony is in a bad place right now. On the bright side of things, they still make some of the best first-party games out there next to Nintendo (your opinion might be different-- that's fine), and they have a new portable with lots of support coming. Not all is bad in the land of Sony. They're still one of my favorite companies around.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review Round-Up - June-August


Zelda leads the charge with a tremendous score.

The conclusion of the month not only introduces a new Central City Census, but it also shows us the reviews of the past month. Since we haven't had a Review Round-Up for three months, let's review the past trio of months. Things started out slow with a retro review of Metroid: Zero Mission which earned an outstanding 9.5, followed in August with Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collected which garnered a stellar 8.5 which just so happens to be the same score our first Nintendo 3DS game review got, Dead or Alive Dimensions. Concluding the month both The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening received sensational scores of 10 and 9.5 respectively, and finally, James Bond 007: Blood Stone got the above-average score of 6.0. Remember that 5.0 is considered average here at SuperPhillip Central. All-in-all, summer was quite a good time for gaming!

Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) - 9.5
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (PSP) - 8.5
Dead or Alive Dimensions (3DS) - 8.5
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS) - 10
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC, 3DS VC) - 9.5
James Bond 007: Blood Stone (PS3, 360) - 6.0

DoA kicked off our 3DS reviews here at SPC.

Central City Census - September

A new month means a new census here at SuperPhillip Central, but before we get into that, let's check out August's results.

With the Nintendo 3DS dropping in price, do you plan on purchasing one?


Yes, I can't wait to own one.
9 (26%)
I'm going to buy a second one.
0 (0%)
Maybe. I'm waiting on more games.
10 (29%)
No, I'm not interested in one.
10 (29%)
No, I already own one.
5 (14%)

Votes so far: 34

This time around we have a tie for first place, each with 29% of the vote and ten votes apiece. The question asked whether the new 3DS price drop made you want to get Nintendo's newest handheld. Most of you are either waiting on more games or aren't interested at all. In a close second place at 26% of the vote is "Yes, I can't wait to own one". Perhaps those twenty free Ambassador games had something to do with it... 14% of the vote already own one, and no one is getting a second 3DS. With that let's check out September's census.

The Nintendo 3DS is starting to light the world on fire with increased sales due to the price drop. That doesn't seem to be affecting Sony's PlayStation Vita which is due out this year in Japan. Which handheld has the most games that interests you thus far? Poll closes at the end of the month as always.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

James Bond 007: Blood Stone (PS3, 360) Review

Let's go away from The Legend of Zelda series for now. I'm sure you guys must be burned out reading about one of my favorite franchises. Regardless, GameStop recently had James Bond 007: Blood Stone for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for the low price of $9.99. Not bad for a game that isn't even a year old. I felt I wasn't giving too much money to the evil corporation, so I didn't mind paying the low cost of entry. Here's my review of Blood Stone, our last review of the month of August.

Daniel Craig and Joss Stone team up for
a slightly satisfying spy thriller.


Gamers fondly remember the glory days of the Bond license with Rare's Nintendo 64 masterpiece, Goldeneye 007. Many companies have since tried to top the game including Electronic Arts who shamelessly used the Goldeneye name in Rogue Agent to try to get sales and Activision who essentially remade the game with the excellent GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo Wii. This, of course, was after their first attempt at making a Bond game with the above-average Quantum of Solace 007. With James Bond 007: Blood Stone, this is Activision's third attempt at publishing a Bond game. Is the third time a charm?

Blood Stone starts out and holds back no punches. Immediately players are thrust into the role of James Bond as he boards a ship on the Mediterranean Sea in Athens, Greece. The villain he is after gets away via speedboat, and like the daring and dashing hero he is, Bond pursues in a hardcore chase. The main story of Blood Stone introduces a character named Nicole who Bond becomes very attached to. Her uncle may or may not be involved in a shady business deal. It's up to you the player as Bond to solve the mystery and save the world. The cutscenes aren't too shabby, and the terrific threesome of Daniel Craig, Joss Stone, and Dame Judi Dench provide their voices to the game. Unfortunately the game ends on a cliffhanger, and seeing as the developer behind Blood Stone is now disbanded by Activision, it doesn't appear players will get to find out the satisfying conclusion to the game.

Blood Stone is a third-person shooter using the Call of Duty engine-- or something similar to it. As Bond takes damage, the screen turns a brighter shade of red. If it gets too red, a message will pop up smack dab in the center of the screen urging the player to get behind cover. Cover is key in Blood Stone. You'll be peeking your head out, taking down guards, soldiers, and other enemies who each want nothing more than to put Bond out to pasture permanently. While behind cover Bond can slide around corners effortlessly, switch between adjacent cover, and hide like a three year-0ld who doesn't want to take his or her medicine.

Use cover to not only get a jump on
your enemies but to save your hide.

Bond can only carry two guns at a time-- one pistol and an alternate weapon. There's a variety in his arsenal from sniper rifles to grenade launchers to assault rifles. The enemy also possesses these weapons, so tread carefully, 007. When enemies get too close for comfort, James can always knock them out with a melee move. While in a melee attack, Bond is completely invincible to enemy bullets. As a reward for melees, 007 can earn up to three Focus Aims at a time. These are triggered by holding the shoulder button and firing. Focus Aim shots are instant, one-hit kills to any opponent they penetrate. These are instrumental to clearing the 007 difficulty mode. It's quite cool saving up three Focus Aims, having three unknowing enemies, and firing off three shots which quickly silence them.

Melee moves give James Bond Focus Aims to work with.

In James's and Nicole's journey across the world, they will visit many exotic locales like Istanbul, Russia, and Burma. Levels are mostly linear, but there is some exploration to be had. Intelligence is an optional feat to accomplish. By using Bond's smartphone, he can download information on nearby intel. Then the player can read up on the various intel collected (pending you can read the obnoxiously small font the game uses). While this is more for achievement and trophy whores, collecting intelligence is a good way to lengthen the game as there's a lot to collect in Blood Stone. Certain levels also have Bond using button prompts to leap over chasms and crevasses, using his smartphone to play a button-pressing mini-game to shut off security cameras in a casino's garden, and have James stealthily creeping through the enemy's stronghold, trying not to get caught.

To break up the numerous gunfights and brawls are driving sequences. Bond's various vehicles to no surprise control well. After all Bizarre Creations (the developer) is the team behind such racing greats like Project Gotham Racing and Blur. As Bond you'll be chasing after large construction vehicles in the raining streets of China, roaring through shipyards, attempting to avoid traffic and other vehicles, going the wrong way down busy highways, and jetting across a river of ice, trying to avoid a watery and icy death in Russia as a helicopter fires off a barrage of bullets at 007's car. These sequences feature plenty of checkpoints and are quite the adrenaline rush.

Explosions, explosions everywhere and not any time to think.

Conversely from the single-player story mode, there's multiplayer action to partake in. There's three modes to choose from: Team Deathmatch (first team to fifty points in ten minutes or less), Team Objective (finish three objectives before the other team), and Last Man Standing (where it's every man for himself to see who survives the longest). Team warfare consists of players siding with MI6 or a group called The Mercenaries. There's eight players per team for a total of sixteen players. Each game lasts ten minutes or less, and maps are chosen randomly. Weapons are scattered all over the place, but mostly are located at each team's home base. Players earn medals for killing opponents with the various weaponry and earn experience for kills and assists. Individual kills net the skillful player with thirty experience points while assists give the player half that. At the conclusion of each game, awards for least deaths, most kills, most melees, and more are handed out, and the experience is given to the player,. They can earn new levels once enough experience has been gathered. New levels unlock new guns to utilize and obliterate opponents with.

Online runs smoothly enough, but there is sometimes lag to worry about which makes aiming quite the futility. Melee attacks are one-hit kills, and oftentimes players melee each other at the same time resulting in both players dying simultaneously. As with story mode, melee attacks earn the player Focus Aims which are surefire ways to instantly incapacitate an enemy. This may seem like a cheap mechanic for multiplayer, but seeing as deaths are common in battle, it's not particularly a problem. Only the most competent player will acquire and keep a nice supply of Focus Aims. Lastly, the online community is still mildly successful and active. For instance, waiting for games in Team Deathmatch isn't a huge happenstance.

Blood Stone is an impressive-looking game even if it borrows heavily from the Call of Duty graphical engine. Explosions are great to look at, backgrounds and textures look gorgeous, and character models aren't that lifeless or animate poorly. Shooting off the helmets of guards is a personal guilty pleasure of mine-- well, that and blowing them to kingdom-come with a grenade launcher. The soundtrack, composed by long-time great Richard Jacques, probably best known for me for his work on the Saturn and PC versions of Sonic 3D Blast, sounds excellent, big, and brassy. All-in-all, the presentation package of Blood Stone is above-satisfactory.

The visuals are pretty crisp and clean.
They're the least of Blood Stone's worries.

James Bond 007: Blood Stone is a relatively short game. Yes, there's multiple difficulties with the highest, 007 mode, allowing some enemies to kill Bond in one shot, but most players will opt out. The campaign is very much forgettable, and the multiplayer is nothing we haven't seen before. That notwithstanding Blood Stone is an above-average Bond game and little more. Yes, the budget is big, the story is compelling enough, and the mission objectives are varied, but those who have played enough third-person shooters will feel a great sense of familiarity with what is presented here. Perhaps this title needed to be shaken up more than it was stirred...

[SuperPhillip Says: 6.0/10]

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC, 3DS VC) Retro Review

It's time for our first Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console game. I did not own a Game Boy Color, so this was my first time playing the colored remake of Link's Awakening. It's none other than The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX. Let's get to it!

Dream A Little Dream With Me


The original Link's Awakening was a vast journey crammed onto a small Game Boy cartridge and even smaller black-and-white Game Boy screen. It followed the adventures of everyone's favorite pointy-eared hero, Link, as he explored a land that wasn't Hyrule for once. Years later with the release of the Game Boy Color, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX was released with new features and bonus content. Even more years later, it returns as one of the first titles available for the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console service. With the ability to save and load a save state whenever thanks to the 3DS, this version of Link's Awakening could be the best one yet.

Sailing along a peaceful ocean, our hero, Link, charts a course to who-knows-where. Suddenly the weather turns ugly as a devastating storm rolls in. His boat gets shredded to pieces by the rough waves and tides of Neptune's bounty. Link falls unconscious and winds up on the shore of a mysterious isle. It is here that he is found and taken in by an innocent young girl named Marin. Link wakes up in her house inside Mabel Village. Exploring the island a little, Link meets a wise old owl who informs him that if he wants to leave the island, he'll have to gather eight instruments to wake the Wind Fish that sleeps at the top of Koholint Island. With that our hero has a goal in mind. Meeting characters and monsters alike, Link's Awakening has the player invested in their adventure.

Like many stories this one begins in bed.

For those new to The Legend of Zelda series, the flow of the franchise is as follows. You control Link through the overworld which connects all of the caves, dungeons, castles, and towns of the game. Koholint Island is larger than it looks. There's deserts, tall mountain ranges, odious bogs, mysterious forests, and monster-infested prairies to explore. As Link gets closer to awakening the Wind Fish, these monsters grow even more restless and bloodthirsty. The main task of Link is to head inside the eight dungeons of Koholint Island, obtain the legendary musical instruments inside each, and play them in front of the Wind Fish's egg.

Dungeons are where the action and puzzles take place. Dungeons are where small keys, maps (which shows off rooms Link has and has not yet ventured into), compasses (which show the locations of treasures and has a beacon that goes off in rooms where keys are located as Link enters them), stone beaks (when placed in owl statues reveal hints to dungeon puzzles) and dungeon items. Each dungeon has an item to collect which is essential to completing the dangers hidden inside. There's Roc's Feather which allows Link to leap over holes in the ground, the Running Shoes which enable Link to run through crystals and get past slower hazards quickly, and the Hookshot which gives Link the ability to grab onto and pull himself across large distances without worry-- to name a few. Usually these items are key to tackling the Nightmare (or boss) lurking in the deepest part of the dungeon. One boss has you bombing its face while another has you picking up a genie's bottle and chucking it into a wall to damage it.

This over-sized worm is only defeated
through slashing its tail.

Dungeons require a lot of thinking, quick reflexes, and some good old fashioned ingenuity. Puzzles range from simple block-pushing and defeating enemies in a certain order to more complicated endeavors such as carrying an iron ball around and tossing it at four pillars to bring the top floor crashing down for Link to access it. Some enemies are puzzles in themselves, requiring the player to comprehend their weakness(es) to defeat them. Each dungeon has a mid-boss which when defeated gives Link a continue point. This continue point is a warp point linking the mid-boss room to the start of the dungeon. This is great if the player dies and must begin from the dungeon's entrance. Most dungeons feature 2D side-scrolling parts where careful platforming is key. One might even see the appearance of some Mushroom Kingdom enemies like Goombas, Cheep-Cheeps and Piranha Plants!

Um, waiter, there's some Mario in my Zelda...

Unfortunately with the limited amount of buttons on the original Game Boy and ensuing Game Boy Color, players only have two buttons to assign items to. This means players must constantly switch between the item select screen (the pause menu in other words) and the action. This gets annoying when players must use more than two items at a time. The incessant switching grows tedious at times, but otherwise the button limitations aren't too terribly... well... limiting.

Constantly switching between items on the subscreen can
get annoying, but it's a minor beef I have with this game.

When Link isn't in a dungeon, he'll be doing lots of side stuff. From exploring caves to leading a ghost to its grave, there's plenty of overworld action to be had here. There's also numerous hidden goodies to be found for those bold enough to look for them. The Legend of Zelda veterans know and love Heart Containers. Collecting four of these gives Link an extra heart in his health counter. These are often placed in hard-to-reach and hard-to-find locations such as behind bomb-able walls and given as rewards in mini-games like Mabel Village's fishing game. Additionally there's an assortment of Secret Seashells to gather. These can be under bushes, under rocks, and even buried under the soil. Collecting all of these rewards the player with an upgraded Master Sword. Some of these locations, however, are almost impossible to locate without the assistance of a FAQ or walkthrough. Who would really know to circle the castle moat and dive by the coast to pick up a Heart Container? Not I, for one. Finally, capable and patient players can participate in a long-winded trading sequence to obtain one of the best items in the game.

New additions were added to Link's Awakening DX besides the obvious one: color. An all-new and secret color dungeon has been included. When the player completes it and takes down the boss guarding the treasure, the fairy inside will give the player the choice of boosting offense or defense. The new dungeon itself isn't particularly that long or challenging, but it is cool to have it as a non-mandatory bonus. There's also a new photo mini-game where Link can explore Koholint Island, getting his picture taken at various landmarks and during certain scenarios. Perhaps something cool will happen if you beat the game without ever seeing the game over screen..!

Typically you want to jump OVER these holes.

Link's Awakening DX obviously improves upon the visuals of the original through the addition of color. Everything has its own color palette, so you're not stuck with everything being a shade of green and black or black and white or whatever two color combination you were previously stuck with. The sensational musical score remains unchanged, and that's just fine by me. Some songs might come across as grating, but tracks like Mabel Village, the overworld, and Tal Tal Heights are without a doubt memorable classics that withstand the test of time. Perhaps the only problem I have with the presentation has to do with touching certain objects. Each time you touch an object that you don't have the proper item to take of, a message pops up that slowly scrolls. After the third or so time of "this rock has cracks, maybe you can shatter it somehow", I was getting irritated.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX is a terrific start to the hand-held adventures of the boy clad in green, Link. The dungeons are expertly-designed with plenty of hidden secrets, dastardly traps and puzzles, and a living, breathing island full of loveable and interesting characters. The presentation from the simplistic graphics to the classic score is tremendous, and it's terrific to be able to save anywhere you want via the 3DS's save state feature. Link's Awakening DX is a must-have download for any 3DS owner with a proper online connection. If you're looking for a better 3DS download, let's face it-- you're dreaming.

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.5/10]

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) Limited Edition Bundle Announced

While we're on this Zelda kick, why not show off what Nintendo of America unveiled yesterday? It's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Limited Edition bundle. What is bundled with this edition is a gold Wii Remote Plus with jacket, a 25th anniversary concert soundtrack CD (of performances to be held in October), and the game itself all for the price of $69.99. Click the image below for an expanded version. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword soars onto the Wii November 20th.


Monday, August 29, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS) Review

We're approaching the end of August, but I have in store some more reviews in the meantime. Let's start the work week off with the review of the biggest Nintendo 3DS title yet. It may be a remake, but it's the remake of one of the best games of all time in this reviewer's opinion. It is none other than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

One of the best games of all time just got a bit better.


In 1998 The Legend of Zelda series entered a new dimension-- three-dimensions. It perfected targeting in a 3D space, used a superior camera, had memorable characters, superb dungeon design, and revolutionized the gaming industry, garnering numerous Game of the Year 1998 awards and is seen on numerous Best Game of All Time lists. Fast-forward to 2011 and now The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time goes full circle-- this time in glasses-less 3D with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Does this epic adventure still hold up, approximately thirteen years later?

Players don the green tunic of a young forest boy named Link. With orders by the Great Deku Tree, the lifeblood of Kokiri Forest, his home, the tree assigns Navi, a helpful fairy, to the formerly fairy-less lad. Obtaining a shield and sword, Link goes to see the Deku Tree once he is summoned. It appears that a man from the Gerudo Desert (a place where one man is born every 100 years) placed a curse on the Deku Tree, and it's Link's duty as the fabled Hero of Time to go inside the tree, take out the source of the curse, and save the day. After taking out the root of the curse, the Deku Tree withers away, but not before assigning Link a new task. It is up to the young hero to go to Hyrule Castle where guards patrol, sneak through, and meet up with Princess Zelda who warns him of the nefarious and sinister Ganondorf. The evil man wishes to enter the Sacred Realm. Only by collecting three spiritual stones to open the way up to the Temple of Time where the Master Sword sleeps will Link and Zelda be able to put a stop to Ganondorf's plans. Or so they think... The story is told through silent text and in-game cutscenes full of wonderful and dynamic camera angles. By the time Link collects all three spiritual stones, the player might think the game is near over, but you're not even halfway done.

Link, with trusty steed, Epona, ride across Hyrule Field.

Link pulls out the legendary Master Sword and gets transported seven years into the future where he is a full-fledged adult. Hyrule Castle Town which was once a happy-go-lucky and peaceful place is now littered with ghastly zombie-like creatures known as Redeads. Ganondorf has turned the once lovely land of Hyrule into Hell on earth. Armed with the Ocarina of Time, an instrument tossed out into the castle moat by a desperate Zelda who retreated from Hyrule Castle, being chased and pursued by the villainous Ganondorf, Link must now collect six Sage Medallions to open the way to Ganon's Castle, summon up the courage to take the foe down, and restore peace and order to the war-torn Hyrule.

The structure of Ocarina of Time allows Link to fully explore the sprawling land of Hyrule. Hyrule Field is the central hub that connects all of the towns and notable places such as Lake Hylia, the Gerudo Desert, and Zora's Domain. Through talking with the various non-playable characters and help solving their problems, the player will eventually have the way open to a dungeon, where the real action takes place. More on those later.

The targeting system allows the player to lock-on to a person or enemy and have the camera thus lock-on to the target by holding or tapping on the left shoulder button (the right shoulder button serves as Link's shield). Link can then sidestep around the target, allowing for encounters of the epic kind. This is all thanks to his fairy companion, Navi. If players get stumped on an enemy's weakness, they can tap the Navi icon on the bottom screen to get a helpful hint. Navi will also give Link knowledge on what to do next occasionally, and it is beneficial for new players as it is easy to get lost in the large land of Hyrule. There's plenty of things to do, enemies to encounter, and items to obtain. The touch screen is also how players can swiftly shift between items. This time around players can assign items to four different places: the Y and X buttons and the I and II buttons on the touch screen. This makes shifting between putting on and off the Iron Boots in the Water Temple much less of a hassle.

The targeting system allows for the
camera to be centered on the action in battle.

Speaking of items and weaponry, there's a bounty to collect in Ocarina of Time. The Ocarina of Time itself can perform a host of things like turning day to night and vice versa, calling Epona the horse for Adult Link to ride across Hyrule Field once it has been rescued, transport Link across Hyrule to set locations, and unlock and open secret doors, among many other uses. Playing the correct songs is key, and it's simpler than ever. This time around with the Nintendo 3DS remake, you can open up the Ocarina menu by tapping the touch screen, and either pressing the correct sequence of buttons to perform a song or tapping the touch screen with the stylus. You can even look up memorized songs and they will be listed, so you, the player, won't have to memorize them yourself.

There's a dozen or so songs to learn--
each giving Link new powers and abilities.

Besides the Ocarina of Time, there's a whole slew of items to collect. Each dungeon has a secret treasure to collect which makes finishing said dungeon possible. For instance the Deku Tree's treasure is the Fairy Slingshot which players can enter a first-person viewpoint to aim either with the analog stick or with the 3DS's gyro sensor (or a combination of both). Young Link cannot use all the items that Adult Link uses (such as the Hero's Bow and Hookshot) whereas Adult Link cannot use all the items that Young Link uses (like the Fairy Slingshot). Thanks to the control options available, it's never been easier to aim the Hookshot, Hero's Bow, and Fairy Slingshot.

Apart from mandatory items, there's a lot of bonus and optional items to grab. For instance well-hidden in the most secret spots of Hyrule are Heart Containers. Collecting four pieces earns Link an additional heart to add to his health counter. These are earned through playing mini-games such as shooting ranges, collected in hard-to-find or hard-to-reach areas, or found through helping out certain citizens of Hyrule. There's also four bottles to gather. These can house anything from fish to health-restoring faeries and potions. Additionally, there is a trading sequence which has Link madly dashing around Hyrule to earn the best sword in the game. Without it needing to be said, if it's optional content you want, Ocarina of Time delivers in spades.

When you're not exploring the land of Hyrule, visiting the denizens, you'll be neck-deep in the deep, dark, and dank dungeons. The dungeons themselves are expertly-crafted, full of secrets and puzzles. There's standard block-pushing puzzles, but there's also more fiendishly-designed ones, too. There's rooms where Link must properly use the items in his inventory to open locked doors, hit switches in the correct order, lower and raise the water level in a dungeon, move mirrors around to redirect sunlight, and collect silver rupees to open doors-- among other tasks. In the approximately eight or so main dungeons of the game (there's also numerous miniature dungeons like the Bottom of the Well and the Ice Cavern), Link must collect small keys, big keys, and items to advance. Thankfully there's help. Inside every dungeon is a map and compass which can be accessed via the touch screen. The map shows every room on every floor of the dungeon, showing which rooms Link has already visited. The compass, meanwhile, shows the locations of all treasures including keys, rupees (the monetary system of Hyrule), and other goodies. Each dungeon has a mini-boss to contend with and a final boss which is usually defeated by using the dungeon's treasure against it, conveniently enough. While one boss has you carefully reflecting its shots back at it with your sword, another has you smashing it over the head with a hammer as it rears its ugly head out of one of various holes.

This puzzle requires Link to use the
Lens of Truth to find the correct solution.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D isn't just the original game remade in 3D with updated visuals. No, no. New content was added. The main attraction here is the ability to replay through the game in the Master Quest. This mode features new puzzles, room arrangements, a mirrored world, and Link takes double damage. Unfortunately players must first beat the original quest to unlock it which may put some people off. Additionally inside Link's Kokiri Forest home, there's a billboard that allows Link to face off against previously-beaten bosses in a boss rush-like mode. If players do not know where to turn to next, certain Gossip Stones can be crawled into where videos will show what to do next as well as show certain hidden secrets. Thus, there's plenty of extras to make this forty dollar game worth it.

Playing the Nintendo 64 original now is a bit difficult after playing the revised 3DS remake. First of all, the N64 original was plagued with slowdown in various parts of the game. This is not the case with the remake. The enhanced graphics look sharp and detailed. Link's model is particularly grand and eye-pleasing. The textures have been upgraded, and they look fantastic, too. The 3D itself is pretty amazing when the player can get the viewing angle just right. Otherwise it gets quite blurry. Sound-wise, everything pretty much remains unchanged. There is one orchestrated piece at the end of the game, however, and it sounds magnificent. Overall, the visual bump added to Ocarina of Time 3D is quite impressive.

The Spirit Temple has Link traveling through time
as both a boy and as an adult to truly divulge its secrets.

Depending on how many times you've played Ocarina of Time, how much of a fan you are of the game, or how long it has been since you've played the game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D may be a worthwhile purchase. For me, the added bonus content and upgraded visuals made owning this game worth it. It is without a doubt the definitive version. The added bonuses such as the extra-challenging Master Quest and boss rush modes makes for many satisfying hours of sword-swinging and boss-busting. To put it simply and eloquently as said in the headline, one of the best games of all time just got a bit better.

[SuperPhillip Says: 10/10]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Star Fox 64 3D (3DS) North American Commercial

After a week off, it's back to business here at SuperPhillip Central. To kick off the week, we have the North American advertisement for Star Fox 64 3D for the Nintendo 3DS which is getting a September 9th release date. This particular commercial shows off the local multiplayer action the game possesses. Unfortunately, and for whatever silly reason, there is no online play.



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