Friday, January 25, 2013

Trine 2: Director's Cut (Wii U) Review

With the Wii U eShop's launch, we have already seen a drastic improvement over Nintendo's efforts with the Wii and their WiiWare service. The support of indie developers is seemingly strong and looks to become even better. Today's game comes from the Wii U eShop, and launched with the system. It's Trine 2: Director's Cut, developed and self-published by Frozenbyte. Let's see if the game is worth your while, especially if you've played the original Trine 2 on another platform.

A Cut Above the Original in Nearly Every Way


The original Trine 2 released on digital platforms such as Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in 2011. Almost a year later, the developer Frozenbyte has self-published a special version of the game for the Wii U eShop for the system's launch, Trine 2: Director's Cut. For those who have already played the vanilla version of the game, is this director's cut worth the $19.99 asking price?

The story of Trine 2 once again has the fabled Trine artifact binding three heroes, Amadeus the wizard, Zoya the thief, and Pontius the knight together on a danger-filled journey to save the kingdom. All they'll have to face are platforming challenges, puzzles, and the occasional barrage of the goblin menace. Not too much work, right? The tale is told through scripted sequences and spoken by a narrator. I must admit that about midway through the initial quest's story, I totally forgot why my party of three heroes was even going through the levels in the first place. The story just seems to be there, but at least there is some humorous banter between the characters.

The three protagonists of Trine 2 each have their own specialties and uses. For example, Amadeus the wizard can conjure boxes and planks out of thin air to make reaching high platforms possible. He can also move certain objects. Meanwhile, Pontius the knight is the brawn of the group. He is able to smash special rocks, take care of enemies easily with his sword or hammer, and he can deflect fire and other attacks with his shield. Finally, Zoya the thief is a nimble little woman. She can grapple wooden ceilings to swing across chasms, as well as snipe foes from afar with her bow and arrows. In a solo run, one character appears on screen at a time, and you cycle through the three when the desire comes.

Pontius' shield protects him from such annoyances
like these spiked balls of doom.
Each of the trio of characters has their own health gauge. When it depletes to nothing, they perish, and can only be revived by reaching a checkpoint. When all three characters go the way of the Dodo, the player is taken back to the last checkpoint reached. If you select Hardcore Mode before starting the game, when a character dies, they are gone for good until the level is complete, and then they are revived. This makes for a difficult challenge as the three characters are very much needed because as stated, each has their own abilities that allow you, the player, to get through a given level.

That is because all three protagonists are needed to work together to solve the various puzzles Trine 2: Director's Cut throws at you. An early puzzle requires players to somehow remove a large snail from the protagonists' path. This is performed by guiding a trickling stream of water onto a glowing spot on the ground so a leafy vine can grow out from the ground. This vine is quite appetizing to the snail, causing it to move out of the heroes' way. The real fun of the game comes from knowing that there usually isn't just one solution to solving a puzzle, there can be several.

While this amphibian dines on its meal,
use the opportunity to cross on its tongue.
However, with the fun of Trine 2: Director's Cut also comes the occasional fit of frustration when you just cannot seem to wrap your head around what to do at a given point and a given puzzle. Additionally, the slower pacing than what usual platforming fans are accustomed to can also create a sense of ennui in the player. I, for one, enjoyed the methodical nature of the game.

There's little time to stop and stare at the
scenery-- there's a kingdom that needs saving!
Besides moving through Trine 2: Director's Cut's levels, there are other activities to engage in. Almost all of the twenty chapters in the game contain two hidden treasure chests which possess artwork or poems that delve into the backstory of the game. These are generally placed in hard-to-reach or secret areas, outside of and away from the beaten path. There are also experience orbs that hang in the air, rest in boxes, dropped by enemies, and put in various locations for you to find. Completing the game 100% (i.e. collecting all the treasures and experience orbs) will take upwards of twenty hours to accomplish. That is quite good for a twenty dollar downloadable title.

Battle goblins, rock monsters, and yes, even dragons.
The aforementioned experience orbs that linger about the various levels are important to collect as for every 50 that are gathered, you earn a skill point. These skill points can be used to purchase special skills for one of your three adventurers. Amadeus can gain the ability to have more than one box or plank on screen at the same time instead of the low limit of one. Zoya can learn how to attribute frost, fire, and explosive elements to her arrows. Lastly, Pontius is able to chuck his hammer to destroy rocks and foes from far away. Those are just some examples of skills the three heroes can learn.

The Director's Cut version of Trine 2 includes the original thirteen chapters of the original version, plus the Goblin Menace expansion for free, which includes six more chapters. Finally, a Wii U exclusive level called the Dwarven Caverns is included, but this level can only be played once all the treasure chests in the prior nineteen levels are found and opened.

One of the levels from the Goblin Menace expansion.
If playing alone gets old, Trine 2: Director's Cut allows up to three players to play the game together, either through local or online play. You can opt for a classic or unlimited setup. One allows players to freely switch between all three characters on the fly while the other does not. At the time of this review, the patch that includes Pro Controller support, voice chat for online, and enhanced visuals has only arrived in Europe. The rest of the world is still waiting for it. However, the online experience is still rather great regardless. If online isn't your cup of tea and you're more of a local multiplayer fan like myself, you and your friends can play the game with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo, the Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro, or the Wii U GamePad.

Partner up with friends or total strangers in co-op.
It cannot be said enough how much better the Trine 2 experience is with the Wii U GamePad. In the original Trine 2, as Amadeus, you had to drag a cursor around the screen with the analog stick to draw objects to conjure up. With the GamePad, all you have to do is draw a box or straight line anywhere on the screen to have it appear. This makes the experience all the more faster and less clunky than it would be on another platform.

Trine 2: Director's Cut is absolutely gorgeous on Wii U. Everything just shines, whether it be the lighting, the special effects, the models, the jaw-dropping backgrounds, and so forth. It is simply a spectacular game to look at, and I found myself sitting still with a look of wonder and awe on my face as I marveled at everything on screen. Then there is the sound, which also impresses. The voice acting is rather good, and the music fits the fantasy medieval setting of the game well, too. Trine 2: Director's Cut is without a doubt one of the most captivating games on the Wii U when it regards presentation.

The graphics are absolutely astounding.
Frozenbyte's first Wii U project is a definite success. If you are looking for the definitive version of Trine 2, then the Director's Cut version is the one to get. It has almost everything you could want: better controls, better visuals, more content, a fun multiplayer experience, and a nice price point. The only thing missing is voice chat, but that is forthcoming (and already there for European players). If you enjoy the kind of slower-paced platforming games that are sprinkled with moments to make you use your mental muscles, then Trine 2: Director's Cut is an essential purchase for your Wii U.

[SuperPhillip Says 9.0/10]


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tired of Negativity: Things Nintendo Is Doing Right With the Wii U

I don't know about you, but I have grown tired of hearing and reading about everything that is wrong with the Wii U or how the console needs "saving" after only being out for two months. Perhaps I have more than half a brain, and that is why I find such statements as silly (read: stupid) and obnoxious. It's the start of a new console, and if you have any kind of long term memory, then you know that problems usually occur. It's the chance you take being a buyer of a new console at launch.


Rather than go on about what still needs tinkering with when it concerns Nintendo's new, young console (seriously, you've probably read enough negativity in this industry to last you until next generation), I would like to talk about the stuff that makes me satisfied with the Big N's direction with the Wii U.

Focusing on core and casual gamers

A criticism of the Wii was that Nintendo was focusing more on casual gamers. Now, I don't know if I agree with that premise, as there were plenty of core titles for the system (and no, I don't mean one or two a year), but with the Wii U there's a shift. Nintendo is not only aiming for core gamers, but they are also looking at casual gamers as well with titles like Wii Fit U, Wii Party U, and Sing Party, for example. Core gamers are getting a ton of titles, too, such as a 3D Mario, two Zelda titles, The Wonderful 101, Bayonetta 2, Pikmin 3, the tentatively titled "Yoshi Yarn", and Monolith Soft's new untitled RPG.


I am in the camp that the same people who flocked to the Wii in its heyday won't give the Wii U a second glance. If history has shown anything it's that the casual gamer is a fickle one. Seeing Nintendo try to appeal to the crowd that felt burned by the company with the Wii is something that is nice to see, but also seeing Nintendo do their best to interest those ever-fickle casual gamers is also great. It makes the Wii U look like a console for everyone instead of just for one group or another.

Miiverse

Miiverse is fantastic and a killer app for me. There-- I said it. It allows players from all around the world to post in separate communities for each game, writing Twitter-like posts to the community at large, getting assistance on problem areas in games, and just finding like-minded players online. It's a great gathering place for players, and one that encourages users to share tips, post funny comments, and provide the community with awesomely done drawings.

There are some updates I would like to see, however, as Miiverse is not perfect. For one, posting screenshots to Miiverse consistently is a crap shoot. Countless reports from people, including myself, have had troubles connecting to the server when trying to post a screenshot. We usually get an error code after a minute or two, and have to try posting it again. Posting a screenshot should not take upwards of five minutes.


Some things I would like to see added to Miiverse include the ability to favorite posts, including a user's own posts, would be pleasant to see. Right now, you can only "Yeah" a post of someone else's, and you are stuck getting notifications every time someone comments on it. Another addition I'd like is the ability to "Yeah" comments. If you have no idea on how "Yeahs" work, you simply touch an icon on a person's post to essentially agree with it and show your support. Regardless, it would be good to be able to get "Yeahs" for helping people out in a trouble spot of a game or replying to someone's initial post with a witty comment.

The future of Miiverse, as told by Nintendo president and stunning hair model Satoru Iwata, includes the ability to create your own communities, sort through specific content, and have more than one community per game. (This information was gathered by IGN. See here.) Miiverse already rocks for many Wii U owners like myself, and these future additions will only make it much better.

The Virtual Console

Wednesday's Nintendo Direct brought with it new announcements of games, but it also contained information of the Wii U's Virtual Console. Some might complain about having to pay a fee to get games they already own on the Wii's VC service, but they are getting Wii U-enhanced versions.

The two most prolific updates include being able to play Virtual Console games solely on the Wii U GamePad, an often desired feature of Wii U owners. The other update is something extremely helpful and good, which is the ability to customize the controls. As Nintendo 3DS VC game owners know all too well, not having the right control setup can make or break a game. I'm looking at you, NES version of Super Mario Bros.

To complement the platforms already on the Virtual Console is the upcoming (no date was given) inclusion of the Game Boy Advance to the service. Will it arrive on the system that people were expecting it to, the 3DS? Who knows.


Nintendo also announced a marketing campaign starring the Virtual Console in celebration of the Famicom's 30th anniversary. There will be several months, each spotlighting one Virtual Console game that will be offered for a spectacularly low price of only thirty cents. Yes, thirty cents. The title for January is Balloon Fight, and future titles have been announced as well, such as Donkey Kong, Yoshi, F-Zero, and Super Metroid. Nintendo delivered with their Wii U Virtual Console unveiling. Let's hope it launches without much in the way of problems.

Creating a much better atmosphere for indie developers than with the Wii

Let's face facts here. The WiiWare service was pretty atrocious. We can give Nintendo leeway as it was their first attempt at making an online game service, but it still reeked of failure. It seems with the Wii U eShop, however, that Nintendo has pulled a total 180.

Putting downloadable games on the Wii U is a greatly improved experience. For one, developers set their own and can change their own prices, as well as set sales at any given time they want. Unlike Microsoft's B.S. and infamous policy of charging developers for patches and DLC, with the Wii U, patches and DLC can be put online for free. That is a crucial element in inviting indie developers, some smaller than an ant, on board to develop for the Wii U.

Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition screen
The service is off to a grand start, too. Already we have Trine 2: Director's Cut (a review for this will be up soon), Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition, Nano Assault Neo, Little Inferno, Puddle (was out at launch for the European eShop, but will be coming to the North American eShop next week), Chasing Aurora, and the newly released The Cave, Double Fine's very first game released on a Nintendo platform. Hopefully the pace of releases and support continues as Nintendo has really outdone themselves this time around, and in this case, that's a good thing.

Looking into fixing OS issues with future updates


The final thing I would like to talk about relates to the Wii U's OS. A main problem with the operating system of the Wii U is that it takes a good while to load games and a good while to back out of games and applications. Satoru Iwata addressed this at this week's Nintendo Direct with a statement saying that two updates, one spring and one summer, will hone in on these issues. It's about time that Nintendo addressed these problems and proposed a fix to them. I know many Wii U owners get antsy with loading times and screens, so this was no doubt welcome news to them.

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Those are just five examples of things that I believe Nintendo is doing right with their new system. Do you agree with my thoughts? What about your own opinion on stuff the Big N is doing right? Perhaps you want to talk about a point I was going to bring up about Nintendo allying more with third-parties? Well, let the SPC community know in the comments section below.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Latest Nintendo Direct, Double Standards, and Being the Underdog

Wednesday's Nintendo Direct was focused solely on the Wii U. For months we have been hearing and reading statements from Nintendo that they were just dealing with the launch period. That was fine and all, but many of Wii U owners wanted to know what was coming in the future, outside the launch window. The hardware manufacturer and software-making extraordinaire finally let loose some gems during their Nintendo Direct. It seems E3 had come early for Nintendo fans.


Now it's important to note that there was a fairly decent sized amount of software to look forward to already, such as Rayman Legends, LEGO City Undercover, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, and Bayonetta 2. However, many Wii U owners like myself wanted to know when the so-called "blockbusters" and real system sellers were coming. The fact of the matter is that early adopters were most interested in the tried and true types of games Nintendo is known for and the ones that fans were most hyped for. I am referring to a 3D Mario, a new Zelda, and games along those lines.

A new trailer for The Wonderful 101 
renewed interest in the title. 
Although we knew that eventually games like the aforementioned Marios, Zeldas, and Mario Karts were coming as those are the titles that never miss a Nintendo console, it was just nice to get a confirmation from Satoru Iwata that not only were they coming, but that they would be playable at this year's E3.

Nonetheless, some argue that without release dates and vague "these games are coming" type announcements with no trailers to speak of that Nintendo is just giving out "empty promises." Those are not my words, by the way. It seems that when Nintendo did not announce they were working on future titles beyond the launch window, people said the company had no long-term vision. Now that Nintendo has announced titles outside of the launch window, it appears that these same people are saying that the company is giving "empty promises."

This is all the while these same people getting amped for the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles. We know very little about the platforms, but that doesn't stop people from getting excited despite the rumors and "you'll see soon what is in store" statements that surround them basically amounting to "empty promises" as well. There's a big double standard here.

The thing of it is is that even though Nintendo heavily relies on its legacy and historic franchises, these franchises are constantly evolving. Generally (big emphasis on "generally") each game in the series tries something new to give the series a fresh feeling. Well, not New Super Mario Bros., but you can get what my point is regardless. The Legend of Zelda series introduced Z-targeting, touch controls, sailing, trains, playing as a wolf, near 1:1 motion control sword combat, and other concepts to keep the series progressing.

1:1 swordplay was just one new thing
added to the storied Zelda franchise.
While we have countless new franchises from other studios that are just the same games we've been playing for a decade now only with a new coat of paint and new IP attached to it (looking mostly at first-person shooters here), Nintendo's games attach old IPs and create new experiences that haven't been seen before. And again, not New Super Mario Bros., but you can get what my point is regardless.

At that same token, Nintendo does create new franchises. They've made new IPs like Xenoblade Chronicles, Brain Age, Pushmo/Crashmo, Sakura Samurai, Dillon's Rolling Western, Rhythm Heaven, Elite Beat Agents, Steel Diver, Fossil Fighters, Disaster: Day of Crisis, and so forth. They might not be at the caliber of or use as many resources as Mario or Zelda, but they're still all-new franchises.  Then the excuse is that they don't market them as much as Mario or Zelda so those games don't count, or they're too casual so those don't matter either. It's a simply put ridiculous stance to take.

What excited me most about the Wii U Nintendo Direct was confirmation that my purchase was a fruitful endeavor. It is always a risk to buy a console at or around launch. It didn't help that Nintendo was playing its cards incredibly close to its vest, but now we know that the big notable system sellers are indeed coming, and they are arriving relatively soon. The Wii U purchase was redeemed for many, or for those who don't own one yet, gave these fine folks a reason to look into the console.

Then there were the completely new announcements with screens or trailers to go with them like the tentatively titled Yarn Yoshi, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD remaker, and most impressive of all, Monolith Soft's brand-new and unnamed RPG project, which really proved to me that developers can make next-gen looking software on the Wii U if they try.

A new Yoshi game was rumored a while back,
but it's official announcement still surprised.
With all of the "Nintendo is doomed", "Nintendo needs to go third-party", and "Nintendo is living in the past" nonsense articles and analysis assessments going around from people and sites desperate for clicks and hungry to see a console fail, despite that not being good for the industry they are involved in and are supposed to enjoy (someone who wants to see a console fail is not someone who cares about this industry), it is an awesome sight to see Nintendo continue to thrive and prove doubters wrong.

Looking good, Link!
Even when they're leading the pack, Nintendo still seems like the underdog. They don't have billions of dollars in resources to pick up every third-party game out there. They don't have the money to spend on ridiculously-sized marketing campaigns. They also don't have a computer or television division to fall back on when their game division fails like Sony or Microsoft. Case in point, Nintendo lives and dies by gaming. That is their only avenue of business.

Giant monsters and mechs? 
You had me at hello.
The Wii U Nintendo Direct showed that Nintendo is not going to lay down and die. Wii U sales might not be at the level of the Wii during the same time frame, and the system might be harder to advertise than its predecessor, but Nintendo is showing once again that they are all about gaming and delivering unique experiences that are difficult to find anywhere else. As a Wii U owner, the Nintendo Direct gave me solace in knowing that my purchase no longer had to be majorly dependent on announcements that hadn't happened yet. Now I know that the Wii U has a future, and it certainly looks like a bright one at that. Whether it wins the generation or not is something I couldn't care less about. Leave that pissing contest for the console warriors and zealots that frequent gaming message boards and comment sections. What I care about is receiving a good stream of quality games, and that appears to be exactly what is going to happen with the Wii U.

Unnamed Monolith Soft Game (Wii U) Debut Trailer

If you're looking for something stunning for the Wii U, then look no further than the final game shown during the Nintendo Direct this morning. It's Monolith Soft's latest RPG project, currently unnamed. You had me at mech combat, folks, and I'm sure a lot of people are saying the same thing.

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) New Trailer

A game which reminds me heavily of Viewtiful Joe and Pikmin, Platinum Games's The Wonderful 101 received a new trailer for people hotly anticipating the game such as myself. It looks absolutely crazy, and I mean crazy in a supremely positive way. Just take a look at the new trailer for yourself and see what I mean.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Top 12 Handheld Games of 2012

2012 was a terrific year for handheld gaming, despite all of the gloom and doom from certain folks saying that the dedicated handheld system is approaching death's door. 2012 was the launch of new handheld hardware in the West with the PlayStation Vita, and it was the start of the Nintendo 3DS system's second year of stellar software. This list of the top twelve handheld games of last year focuses solely on dedicated gaming platforms. A list of great games on mobile devices in addition to the titles listed would keep us here our night. Without further ado, these were the grandest of the grand in dedicated handheld gaming for 2012.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)


We kick off our look at the best handheld games of 2012 with the game that won runner-up for Game of the Year 2012 during the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2012 Awards, Kid Icarus: Uprising. Once you get over the initial hurdle of learning the controls, the game is a joyously brilliant, action-filled romp that is one part on-rails flyer a la Star Fox 64 and one part third-person action game. The self aware script, fantastic soundtrack, and immense amount of unlockables make Uprising one of the premier software titles in the Nintendo 3DS lineup.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)


Two New Super Mario Bros. titles in the span of a handful of months might have seemed like Nintendo was pushing its luck. However, New Super Mario Bros. 2 was a welcomed addition to the portly plumber's 2D resume. The main selling point for the game was the gross gathering of coins. A running tally totaled all collected coins each player amassed, all a part of the worldwide total. Even if compiling heaps of coins isn't your bag, you could still enjoy New Super Mario Bros. 2 with its absolutely amazing and creative level design. And just think-- this game was made by total newbies to designing Mario games. I think the future of the franchise is in good hands once the veterans retire.

Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)


Although Capcom announced today that they were bringing an HD-ified version of Resident Evil: Revelations to home consoles (including Wii U, PS3, and 360) in May, the original 3DS iteration of the game is still worth playing. Somehow Revelations turned out to be a better game than Resident Evil 6. The game had a superb mix of survival horror and action, offering intense scares in one chapter and pulse-pounding adrenaline in another. Raid Mode was a loot lover's dream come true with missions than earned players new weapons depending on how well they (and their partner) completed a given level. While the HD versions of Resident Evil: Revelation will be fifty in the future, you can get the 3DS version for less than twenty dollars now.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)


The lead up to Kingdom Hearts III was the summer release Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Players assume the roles of Sora and Riku as they explore all-new Disney worlds inspired by movies like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Three Musketeers. The latest addition to combat in Kingdom Hearts 3D was Flow-motion, which made chaining attacks and dealing huge damage a breeze. Plus, it was just so darned fun zipping along from wall to wall and around poles to attack enemies. The story might not have made much in the way of sense, but the gameplay more than backed up the title as a whole.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS)


Also available on iOS, but in a much more incomplete form, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy brought with it oodles of nostalgia with its characters, music, and videos, compelling touch-based rhythmic gameplay, and loads of unlockable content. By tapping, holding, and sliding the stylus on the touch screen in time with the music, you could earn a high score. Theatrhythm incorporated RPG aspects as well, such as leveling up characters and equipping them with helpful items and skills for when songs got too rough for a player. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a sublime offering, and it may just be my favorite rhythm game ever.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS)


If you are a fan of building your brain and flexing your mental muscle, then you no doubt know of the Professor Layton franchise. The fifth installment (and the first for the Nintendo 3DS), Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, takes the professor, his apprentice Luke, and assistant Emmy to Monte D'or where a series of mysterious events caused by a man calling himself the Masked Gentleman has taken place. Through solving over 150 brain busters and conversing with the townsfolk, players move through the story to inch closer and closer to solving the grand mystery behind the events. Even though the franchise is on its fifth game, The Miracle Mask still feels fresh.

Crashmo (3DSWare)


Building off the success of Pushmo, Intelligent Systems, the makers of Fire Emblem and Advance Wars, created Crashmo, a puzzle game that demanded much more thought than its predecessor-- and that game was no slouch either! By shifting blocks around with some falling to the ground or on top of others, Mallo the protagonist could create for himself a staircase to the top of the amalgamation of blocks to reach the goal. Compared to Pushmo, Crashmo was a more difficult beast that even in its earliest stages can make one's brain sweat profusely.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss (PSV)


The most talked about launch title for the PlayStation Vita's launch last year was Uncharted: Golden Abyss. The game was set as a prequel to the PlayStation 3 trilogy, and used the various features of the Vita system well. Some of it might have been perceived as mere gimmickry, but I applaud the effort to try something new nonetheless. By far the most impressive idea about Golden Abyss was that a console-like title with PS3-like graphics could appear on a platform that you could hold in your hands. That just floored me, and to this day, still does.

Persona 4 Golden (PSV)


An enhanced and greatly expanded version of the PlayStation 2's Persona 4, the PlayStation Vita's Persona 4 Golden was a game that added a new character, more Personas, more dialogue that was spoken aloud, anime cutscenes, and different outfits for characters. There was even a wireless feature that gave the ability to have a player request another's help for battle. As it is known in Japan as Persona 4: The Golden, the game gave the Vita a much needed shot in the arm and helped boost sales for several weeks. There is a good reason for that as the original Persona 4 was a fantastic experience, and Persona 4 Golden makes that game even better.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (PSV)


My favorite new franchise that came out of the past generation received a new PlayStation Vita-exclusive entry with the appropriately titled LittleBigPlanet PS Vita. This version contained the familiar and tried and true gameplay puzzle platforming mechanics of the home console versions, but also brought with it new mechanics utilizing the PlayStation Vita's front touch screen and back touch panel, as well as new gadgets in addition to the ones from previous games. The LittleBigPlanet series's backbone is based off of user-generated content, and the community in the Vita game does not fail to impress. If you're looking for an offbeat and engaging platformer for your Vita, you cannot go wrong with LittleBigPlanet PS Vita.

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (PSV)


It might be cold, perhaps even snowy, in some parts of the world (like here in the U.S.), making going outside and playing a round of golf something close to an impossibility. Why not go with a satisfying alternative of playing the sport virtually with Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, the latest in the long-running Hot Shots Golf series? Containing six all-new courses of increasing difficulty, a cast of bright and cheery characters that can grow in abilities, and online tournaments to test your skill against the world, World Invitational was a Vita launch title that anyone could pick up and play. You might not have been any good, but you could still pick up and play regardless.

Gravity Rush (PSV)


An overlooked in the mainstream game, Gravity Rush was centered on Kat who could conjure up the powers of gravity to move across the in-game world. This was done by floating in the air, aiming at a location, and then pressing the R button to move Kat towards and to land on the object, be it a wall or whatnot. RPG elements were incorporated into Gravity Rush, such as optional side quests and bosses, as well as the concept of leveling up. Everything about Gravity Rush oozed with ingenuity, from its cel-shaded art style to its gravity-based gameplay.

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Did this list leave out one of your favorite handheld games of last year? Don't be shy in posting your faves in the comment section.

LEGO City Undercover (Wii U) New Trailer

There will no doubt be plenty of Wii U-related news tomorrow morning when a brand-new Nintendo Direct, a Wii U-specific one, takes place. In the meantime, a new trailer for LEGO City Undercover has been posted on Nintendo's YouTube channel. Watch it and hopefully you can see why I am so interested in the game.

Resident Evil: Revelations HD (Wii U, PS3, 360, PC) Announcement Trailer

One of my favorite handheld games of last year was Resident Evil: Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS. Now even more people get to play the excellent game with this HD version, available on Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. In addition to the high definition visuals, there is the promise of new enemies and additions to Raid Mode. Check out the announcement trailer below.

Monday, January 21, 2013

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Mr. 300 Edition

We started SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs just over a year ago, and now we have 300 different video game songs represented. We're celebrating 300 VGMs with today's edition (if the edition name didn't make that obvious enough). We'll have music from Valkyria Chronicles, We Love Katamari, and Metroid: Other M. If you're ready, then let's begin.

v296. Kameo: Elements of Power (360) - Hero's Theme


Here is a chorus-filled orchestral bombshell of a theme. While it's not my favorite launch title for the Xbox 360, or even my favorite Rare-developed launch title for the Xbox 360, Kameo: Elements of Power possessed plenty of fun in a genre that hasn't been represented much on the system.

v297. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3) - A Love Passed On


A fresh tactical RPG on the PlayStation 3, Valkyria Chronicles was published by Sega and has a stellar soundtrack. Why wouldn't it be stellar when you have Hitoshi Sakimoto of Final Fantasy Tactics fame on board for the music? A Love Passed On plays during a pivotal and forlorn moment in Valkyria Chronicles. Read the comments of the YouTube video at your own risk.

v298. We Love Katamari (PS2) - Everlasting Love


The Katamari series is always full of an eclectic mix of music, and the PlayStation 2's We Love Katamari, the direct sequel to the sleeper hit Katamari Damacy, continues that trend. Everlasting Love is a peppy rock tune with female vocals. It's a nice song to roll up innocent cows and civilians to.

v299. Metroid: Other M (Wii) - Ridley Theme


My opinion of Metroid: Other M is that it is an enjoyable game. Whether the reactions of Samus Aran's character being ruined are overreactions is something for another day, though gamers and overreactions seem to be synonymous with one another. Ridley's theme has been in many Metroid games in the past, and it really shines in Other M. Its tense chords and strings make for an intense fight.

v300. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) - Love's Theme


We celebrate 300 VGMs with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. What better time when we have the release date of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance approaching soon? With Love's Theme we have the vocalizations that tear at your heart and the sultry strings producing a Middle Eastern flair.

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Next week we begin our climb to 400 VGMs. Before that, however, we'll have at least one new review right here on SuperPhillip Central this week. Until then, check out the VGM Database for every VGM ever posted.

Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS) North American Commercial

The latest chapter in the Fire Emblem franchise is approaching its release date. The Nintendo 3DS exclusive now has its own commercial which can be seen below. Fire Emblem: Awakening hits North American store shelves on February 4.

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