Friday, May 3, 2013

Top Ten Best Wii U Games Released So Far

Yes, yes. We know. "Wii U actually has ten games, much more ten that are actually worth playing!?111" Oh, Internet, you never fail to amuse us.While you're at it, post videos of the Harlem Shake and Keyboard Cat. They're just as overdone to us.

In all seriousness, for the abuse that Nintendo's Wii U has received (and a good portion of it is deserved), one part that we at SuperPhillip Central just can't wrap our brains around is the idea that the system is lacking games. Obviously if you are an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 owner, many of the titles you've already played. However, a fair amount of them are worthwhile, even for those who already own a 360 or PS3. This list of the ten best Wii U games that are currently out should illustrate why we think Nintendo's struggling system has got the games. It just needs the sales.

10) Toki Tori 2

We start the list of a sequel of a 2001 Game Boy Color game. It's Toki Tori 2, a colorful and whimsical puzzle-platformer available for Wii U and Windows. The game is also coming to Steam and iOS later this year. Regardless, Toki Tori 2 is a charming title with plenty of levels that will make players think. For instance, a wet Toki Tori can walk through grass, making it grow, and allowing players to reach previously inaccessible areas. If you're looking for an adorable and worthy addition to your Wii U downloadable game library, Toki Tori 2 is it.

9) Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien

A sequel to 2010's Bit.Trip Runner, available on Wii, Steam, and Nintendo 3DS, Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien jumps and dashes onto the Nintendo Wii U's eShop as a great downloadable title for the system. The game has five unique worlds made up of multiple levels. The gameplay, if the title didn't give it away already, has CommanderVideo running automatically with the player needing to make him jump, slide, and kick his way to avoid objects and reach the goal. What it all adds up to is an excellent download for Wii U owners, as the game include off-TV play. That alone makes it worthwhile to us.

8) Nano Assault Neo

Nintendo 3DS owners have recently been able to enjoy Nano Assault EX. Wii U owners have had an exclusive from Shin'en as well in the form of the gorgeous and technologically impressive Nano Assault Neo. The game includes all of the microscopic virus-busting twin stick-shooter gameplay that fans of the series are familiar with. The Wii U version sports off-TV play, local multiplayer, and recently online leaderboards to compare scores with the best of them. Shin'en shows time and again that they know how to make entertaining and beautiful games, and Nano Assault Neo is another one of them.

7) Trine 2: Director's Cut

Three games on this list will be called the definitive versions. The first of which is Trine 2: Director's Cut. For only $20 (or less if the game is on sale) you can play this puzzle-platformer online or locally with friends. This Director's Cut version of the game not only features the original Trine 2's levels, but it also comes with the Goblin Menace DLC for free. The Wii U version comes with an exclusive level as well. All this with the ease of drawing and moving objects via the Wii U GamePad makes for a downloadable title that is the best that the Wii U has to offer so far.

6) ZombiU

Survival-horror is a genre that hasn't seen much in the way of new games. Even Resident Evil has moved more towards action than terror. This is where Ubisoft's Wii U launch title ZombiU comes in, one of the greatest pure survival-horror games released in a long time. You have an unlimited amount of survivors to utilize, but once one dies, they are dead for good. You must then find them as a new survivor, kill them, and take the loot that they had. The Wii U GamePad is used in truly ingenious ways, and the scare factor of ZombiU (regardless of the silly title) is immense. This is really one of those games that will make you uneasy, and you'll enjoy every minute of it.

5) Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition

The second of three games that we at SuperPhillip Central call the definitive version, Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition comes with all of the content of the Game of the Year editions, and includes some Wii U-specific qualities and traits. Using the Wii U GamePad to investigate crime scenes is pretty cool and inventive, and selecting gadgets via the touch screen works rather well. Armored Edition comes with Harley Quinn's Revenge, Robin and Nightwing as playable characters, and Catwoman's story, too. The only issue with the game is its occasional framerate quirks, but even these aren't deal-breakers. What it all adds up to is the greatest version of Arkham City available on the market.

4) New Super Mario Bros. U

In what could be said as a questionable move (i.e. releasing a second New Super Mario Bros. game in less than three months), New Super Mario Bros. U is still an excellent addition to the 2D line of Mario games. The level design is superb as always with multiple secret exits, hidden Star Coins, and tremendous placement of enemies and other obstacles. Each level introduces a new concept to player, so that the game is constantly fresh. The inclusion of a Challenge Mode offers expert players some added difficulty. What makes NSMBU so entertaining is that the design is just phenomenal all around, and playing with up to four other people makes for a tremendously entertaining experience.

3) Nintendo Land

Perhaps the best showcase of what the Wii U GamePad can add to the gaming experience, Nintendo Land features twelve unique attractions based off of various Nintendo properties, such as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Balloon Trip, and F-Zero. Each game provides a specific use for the Wii U GamePad, offering asymmetrical gameplay for the six multiplayer attractions and intriguing controls and uses in the six single-player attractions. Earning coins to acquire new prizes around the main plaza, being rewarded with stamps for accomplishing certain in-game tasks, and playing with a roomful of friends makes Nintendo Land not only the best Wii U multiplayer experience, but one of the greatest local multiplayer experiences on any platform in a long time.

2) Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

The final of the three definitive versions, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a high resolution version of Monster Hunter Tri, a Wii game whose servers only recently were shut down. The world of Monster Hunter pits players against colossal beasts where learning when to and when not to attack is key to survival. Each battle is an endurance match of sorts. Thankfully you need not hunt alone, as Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate supports network play so four folks in the same room can eliminate monster threats together. The Wii U and 3DS versions offers cross-play functionality a la the PlayStation 3 and Vita, so you can transfer your hunter from one copy of the game to another. With so many monsters to slay or capture, dual analog gameplay for easier camera control, multiple weapons to grow accustom to, and plenty of unique weapons and armor to forge to make your hunter not only look good but be stronger, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the definitive Monster Hunter experience on any platform.

1) LEGO City Undercover

Number one on our list might seem bizarre to a lot of people, but let us explain ourselves. We haven't had this much fun getting 100% on a game (which took upwards of 55 hours total) in a looong time. LEGO City Undercover presents players with an open world that literally has something to do or find on every block and street corner. The game has a story that is ripe with comedic moments and references that prove that the game isn't just for kids. LEGO City is an absolute blast to explore, the missions are enjoyable to play through, and the dialogue is top-notch and hilarious. Personally, LEGO City Undercover on Wii U single-handedly made our Wii U system purchase worthwhile. The preceding games on this list are just gravy in comparison. If you're looking for an open-world game with lots of charm and things to do, LEGO City Undercover might just tide you over until Grand Theft Auto V hits on other consoles.


That's our list of what we consider to be the best Wii U games. We're sure you have your own ideas of what games should have made the list or be number one. Let the SuperPhillip Central community know by sending us a comment below.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Help Support SuperPhillip Central. Donate Today.

SuperPhillip Central started out as a pet project of yours truly way back in June of 2008. It's been a long but exciting time dedicating myself to posting new content every weekday for nearly the past five years, sometimes forgoing schoolwork and a social life to bring you new articles, editorials, lists, reviews, and interviews. Since then, I've expanded the site's content and even accepted some off-and-on contributors. (Hence why I use the terms "we", "our", and "us" a lot lately.

Rather than post disruptive ads on this site, I have made my decision to add a donate button on the sidebar, just underneath the Central City Census. It is my hope that you like our site enough that you will feel compelled to donate some money our way. We've worked really hard on this site for a long time, and we'd really appreciate your support. Through getting Paypal we can see about upgrading the site to something better, or possibly getting new games on a faster basis for review when our PR contacts cannot give us review copies.

Give as much or as little as you can, but only give if you like this site and can afford to donate. Its your support that makes doing this site so rewarding to me personally. My contributors and I hope that SuperPhillip Central will be going strong for five more years and on, and we hope that you'll be with us for the journey. Thank you for reading.

Review Round-Up - April 2013

I am vengeance... I am the night...
I am... the Game of the Month for April 2013!
While SuperPhillip Central only had four reviews for April, the games we did review were top-tier titles. For one, we reviewed Batman: Arkham  City - Armored Edition, the definitive version of Arkham City. That game earned the top score of the month, a 9.5. Following that was Shin'en's Nano Assault EX, earning itself an 8.5. Next up we had Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (9.25), a game that put a smile on our faces from beginning to end. Finally, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate one Wii U and Nintendo 3DS came in and stormed SuperPhillip Central, getting a 9.25 as well for its efforts.

Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition (Wii U) - 9.5
Nano Assault EX (3DSWare) - 8.5
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) - 9.25
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U, 3DS) - 9.25

Bustin' made us feel good in 
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.

Central City Census - May 2013

We're a day late with posting this and then the Review Round-Up, but that's okay. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. Anywho, let's look at the results for April's Central City Census before we move onto this month's question.

The question that was posed asked how often you trade in your games. Close to half of the 115 votes said that they never trade in their games, regardless of how poor they are. Perhaps you guys make better and more well-informed purchasing decisions than the rest of us. Good for you! Seriously. Only 21 folks said that they either trade in their games always, more often than not, or trade in half of what they buy. For me, personally, I trade in the ones I don't see myself playing again, or ones that didn't resonate with me. I always keep the popular titles and ones that I will play in the future. Otherwise, I use those games to trade for others on sites like GameTZ, for instance. Now, that we have reviewed the results, let's see what May's census brings.

There are so many consoles available since the start of the gaming industry way back when. May's Central City Census asks how many home consoles you have currently hooked up. They can be in one room, a multitude of rooms-- just how many you have in your household. The poll will close at the end of the month.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rayman Legends (Wii U, PS3, 360) Eye of the Tiger Trailer

Rayman Legends is quickly becoming my most anticipated game of the year. The new Challenges App that released last Thursday has given Wii U owners a taste of what to expect with the game, as well as a way to play exclusive levels and compete with friends. This trailer shows off a new music level, featuring a Flamenco version of Survivor's Eye of the Tiger. This game is going to be phenomenal.

SPC Interviews: Andy Wafer (Pixel Toys)

We celebrate hump day with a brand-new interview for you to enjoy. Pixel Toys is a relatively new indie developer who recently released Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo, a platformer for the Nintendo eShop. Today I speak with Andy Wafer of Pixel Toys about how the studio was born, why Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is a game Nintendo 3DS owners should look into, working with Nintendo, and a multitude of other topics.

Phil Stortzum (PS): First, would you mind introducing yourself to our readers (i.e. what position you carry, how long you’ve been with Pixel Toys, your favorite games, etc.)?

Andy Wafer (AW): I’m Andy Wafer from Pixel Toys, we’re a small indie studio hoping to make great indie games. The company’s not very old; we’ve been going about 6 months now and there are only five of us in the office, but we’ve managed to get quite a bit done since we started and we’re excited about the future.

PS: How did Pixel Toys come to be?

AW: Pixel Toys came about because after working for big games companies for many years we felt that the time was right to go it alone and do our own thing. The opportunity for doing that has never been so great as it is right now, at least not for the 12 years or so that I’ve been in the industry.

PS: Your first release is Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo. Can you tell us a little bit about the game?

AW: The game is a cute little platformer with a swinging and grappling mechanic. You could also say a swinging and grappling maniac. You play as a Squirrel called Mr. Nibbles. At the start of the game the little guy has his stash of acorns snatched by some pretty mean woodland animals, and Mr. Nibbles begins a quest to get them back for his family. Mr. Nibbles has a grappling rope which he can use to swing around the game stages, he can also collect different power ups to help him along the way. And dress up in costumes, if dressing up squirrels in costumes is your thing. It makes us smile anyway.

PS: What made you decide to do a platformer? Don’t get me wrong—we at SuperPhillip Central can’t get enough platformers!

AW: I’ve always been a fan of platformers and always wanted to make one. In fact, since I’ve been in the industry it’s one of the few types of games I haven’t made. I’m sure everyone who’s a long term Nintendo fan appreciates platform games, so it was great to bring the game to a Nintendo audience.

PS: Was Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo always planned for the Nintendo 3DS eshop, or did you have another platform (or platforms) in mind? If so, why?

AW: The game actually started life as ‘Little Acorns’ for iPhone developed by Team Pesky. At that time it was a lot harder for indie studios to put a game out on Nintendo platforms, but recently things on that front have started to change for the better. We knew the guys from Team Pesky and we loved the game, so began discussing the possibility of bringing it to 3DS. It was clear we wanted to beef up what Little Acorns had to offer for the 3DS audience, to make it work on a d-pad, add more content to create ‘Super Little Acorns’.

PS: How long was the development time for the game?

AW: The development took around 4 months. We of course started with the iPhone version, but we created a significant amount of new content, 50% more stages featured in the new Challenge mode of the game. We also added in support for the bottom screen, new menus, new costumes, 3D effects and Turbo mode.

PS: What challenges did the development team at Pixel Toys face with creating Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo?

AW: It was our first proper development, so it was full of surprises! Fortunately we’ve got some excellent development talent and Nintendo were very helpful. We also published the game ourselves, so there’s quite bit for work to be done on that side, and a steep learning curve!

PS: Did the game turn out exactly as your studio had planned?

AW: I think so. You always make changes, you learn more about what you’re making as you go and you try to incorporate learnings along the way to make it better. When you get towards the end you always start to think, “should we make this change” or “shall we add this feature” but if you go down that road you may never finish.

PS: What are you most proud of regarding Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo?

AW: We think that for a small eShop title there’s a lot of content, but most importantly we’re really pleased with the level of polish we achieved. We think the game looks good and plays great. We hope you agree!

PS: Is it possible we’ll see Mr. Nibbles again in the future?

AW: We certainly hope so. He’s a cool cheeky little character!

PS: Speaking of the future, can you give our readers the scoop on what your next project is? You need not go into more detail than you’re allowed.

AW: I can’t really say much, we’ve only just finished Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo, but we’re looking at something a bit more action focused, and using 3D graphics. It will still be a game we hope is suitable for a really wide audience.

PS: Do you have plans to work on games that are meant for other platforms rather than just the Nintendo 3DS?

AW: Our next game is almost certainly going to be on other platforms, but we’ve really enjoyed working with Nintendo 3DS and hope to do so again.

PS:  Is home console development (services like XBLA, PSN, Wii U eShop) in the cards for Pixel Toys?

AW: We’d never rule anything out. The industry is changing all the time, new platforms and new technologies all represent new opportunities for gameplay and to do exciting cool things. And it’s becoming easier all the time for small companies like us to make games on more platforms.

PS: For a long time Nintendo was known for having very strict guidelines with third-parties and indie developers. They have since been noted as having changed how they do things and are more open to outside developers such as yourselves. How has working with Nintendo been? Has it been an easy experience?

AW: Game development is never an easy experience. Certainly not if you intend to make anything that’s any good! Our experience with Nintendo has been good, and during the 6 months or so we’ve been working with them they’ve continually done a lot to improve processes for small third-parties like us. So any new developers signing up now should have an even smoother ride. But whenever you make a console game there are always guidelines to adhere to, for good reason. Guidelines make sure the games work properly on the hardware, have consistency and few bugs. Nintendo want to make sure that games on their systems meet a high quality criteria for their players, and you have to respect that.

PS: How is it advertising your game on the Nintendo eShop? Do you feel you’re getting enough of a presence on the eShop? Are you looking more into getting good word-of-mouth?

AW: We don’t advertise in the sense of spending money for placement. The game is on the eShop and that’s great. Any special placement that Nintendo give us is a bonus. We are of course hoping that the game gets good word of mouth, and does well, and we hope that in turn means a good position on eShop charts and good eShop reviews.

PS: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers of SuperPhillip Central?

AW: That’s all for now, thanks for playing!


If you're interested in more regarding Pixel Toys, check out their website here, so you can stay up-to-date on all moves this exciting new studio is doing. SuperPhillip Central will have more interviews with developers in the future, so please look forward to that, as well as our review of Super Little Acorns Turbo 3D.

Magnificent May: Six Games to Look Out for This Month

It's that time again where SuperPhillip Central lists the top games for the oncoming month. For May we have seven titles that spark our interests the greatest. From Resident Evil to Donkey Kong, variety is not only the spice of life but the spice of the month. Which games this month will you be buying, if any? Remember, as always, that these release dates are subject to change and are based off North American dates. Also, these games are retail only and have to have firm release dates.

Metro: Last Light (Multi)
Release Date: 5/14

First-person shooters have flooded the market, and quite frankly a lot of gamers are tired of the genre. On the other side of the coin, a lot of gamers and consumers can't get enough of them. Metro: Last Light is another FPS set in a post-apocalyptic world, but this time there's some survival-horror elements thrown in for good measure. You play as a character who is the "last light" for the world and all mankind-- someone who takes the burden of saving the human race in the darkest of times. The concept is intriguing. We'll have to wait and see how the execution is handled when Metro: Last Light releases in two weeks.

Resident Evil: Revelations (Multi)
Release Date: 5/21

The original Resident Evil: Revelations released on the Nintendo 3DS last year to little fanfare. In fact, rather than advertise that game, Capcom opted to promote Operation Raccoon City, a game that wouldn't release until a month later. Regardless, Revelations is getting another chance to shine with this HD remake. Not only is all of the content from the 3DS original present and accounted for, but new playable characters for Raid Mode, new enemies, and an ultra-challenging difficulty mode have been included as well. Get ready to experience true terror when Resident Evil: Revelations releases on May 21.

Worms Collection (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 5/21

A collection of three games for the low entry price of $29.99, Worms Collection features Worms, Worms 2: Armageddon, and Worms: Ultimate Mayhem. Europe has had this compendium of Worms action since last year. However, all three of these games have been available on PSN and XBLA for a while for North Americans anyway. Regardless, those who prefer disc-based games (such as us at SPC) will most likely find this package worth purchasing when it releases on May 21.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)
Release Date: 5/24

The 2010 Wii exclusive Donkey Kong Country Returns was an excellent platformer, hindered only by having to shake the controller to roll and perform various other actions. With this 3DS port by Monster Games (Excite Truck, Pilotwings Resort), rolling, ground pounds, and blowing have been mapped to buttons. Huzzah! Not only that, but the game features a selection of new levels that opens up after the initial game is completed, a mode that is more suited for casual play (it's easier), and co-op with two players (both need a 3DS and a copy of the game). Perhaps the only damning thing about this version of DKCR is that the framerate is at 30 FPS rather than the original 60 FPS.

Fuse (Multi)
Release Date: 5/28

For the longest time Insomniac Games mostly only developed games for Sony platforms. This dates back to the original PlayStation. Now the house behind the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance franchises are branching out with a multiplatform release in the form of Fuse. Fuse allows up to four players to participate in a cooperative story filled with plenty of action. By completing mission objectives and scoring kills, players can upgrade their character through spending Fuse points, and give their own character their personal touch through character skill trees. While Fuse screams "dudebro", we look forward to seeing how Insomniac's gamble pays off when the game release near the end of the month.

GRID 2 (Multi)
Release Date: 5/28

Racing games are a dime a dozen this generation. We've seen Need for Speed, MotorStorm, Burnout, Forza, Project Gotham Racing, etc. GRID 2 comes off a million+ selling game and adds new features to make the package all the more enticing. The all-new TrueFeel Handling system promises players will feel like they're one second away from being out of control at all times. It's that excitement that "drives" GRID 2. Besides the garage full of luxurious rides, he track selection will also have great variety-- mountain roads, city streets, and traditional racing circuits. If you have a need for speed, GRID 2 will be the game for you.


Not that bad of a month for games, if we do say so ourselves. Which of these seven titles are ones that interest you the most? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U, 3DS) Review

Our last review of the month of April is from a series that hasn't in the West even come closely to meeting the success the series has in Japan. The game is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, a title available on both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Is it worth checking into if you've already played Tri, or is it a good game for newbies of the series to enjoy? Here's our review that answers those two questions and more.

It Was A Monster Mash.

Monster Hunter is a series that is one of the most popular in the Land of the Rising Sun. Each game in the franchise is consistently a million-selling title in Japan alone. In the West, the series is much more niche rather than being a widespread success. Despite this, Capcom has been open to releasing the games to North America, Europe, Australia, among other parts of the world. The latest installment of the Monster Hunter series is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, essentially an expansion of the Wii's Monster Hunter Tri. With more weapons, more monsters, and the ability to transfer one's character from the Wii U to the 3DS and vice versa, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the best Monster Hunter game to date. Here's why.

The world of Monster Hunter can seem very overwhelming at first. What weapon do you choose? How do you face off against more powerful monsters? What armor should you gun for? How do I get _____ to upgrade my _____? The questions posed to players are immense. Thankfully, the game does a remarkable job of easing players into the game via starting tutorial missions. While these may annoy longtime Monster Hunter players, as they are mandatory, for those who are for the first time entering the Monster Hunter universe or haven't played Monster Hunter in a long time, they're invaluable to complete.

Even attacking harmless creatures isn't
below a typical monster hunter.
Quests are the main draw of the Monster Hunter series. These assign you a task such as collecting a specific amount of a certain item, taking out a specific number of monsters, or taking down a "boss" monster such as Qurupeco or a Barroth. Each quest has an entry fee that players must pay, but if the mission is a success you get more zenny (the currency of the Monster Hunter series) than you originally paid.

Each monster has their own attacks that need to be dodged accordingly. For instance, the fiery dragon Rathalos spews out fireballs that will cause a temporary burning status to whomever it hits. Meanwhile, the Great Jaggi, one of the earliest big monsters, will swipe at hunters with its tail and even call in reinforcements. The fun of Monster Hunter is finding the best ways to go about defeating each beast, how to dodge their attacks well, and knowing when to simply run away. Simply button mashing will not bode well for those on the hunt. Monster Hunter as a series is all about timing your attacks and evasions for the best success. This learning experience is an exceptionally rewarding feature of the Monster Hunter series, and it holds true for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

Be careful! This creature's quite shocking!
Fighting the "boss" monsters is a bit of an endurance match. Monsters do not display a health bar. Instead, you have to take notice and observe their behavior. For instance, a weakened monster on the cusp of defeat will start drooling, start staggering as it walks, and sometimes even miss their own attacks. Weakened monsters are also known to flee from the current area, so tossing a Paintball to track their location on the map is essential.

When a monster is on the edge of being slain, you can do one of two things. You can either slay it normally, or you can opt to do the more difficult task of the two, capturing it. A weakened monster, as stated, will have telltale signs it is about to keel over. By dropping a trap and luring the beast into it, you have a shot of capturing it. Of course, a pitfall or shock trap alone won't put the monster into hibernation. No, you need Tranq Bombs to chuck at the monster to soothe it to sleep. One might wonder what the point of capturing a monster is if it's a more challenging task. Well, capturing a monster will give you more resources, and sometimes the rarest of them can only be received through capturing a monster.

This winter rabbit is quick to chill any hunter out.
Resources are incredibly important in the world of Monster Hunter. They are acquired through catching bugs, fishing, and most importantly, carving up deceased monsters. In order to upgrade your weapons and armor (or forge entirely new ones), you'll need to have the required amount of resources. For example, to create the pieces of the complete Rathian armor (helmet, body armor, leggings, arm guards, waist armor, etc.), you need to receive various resources from the Rathian monster. I'm referring to things like the Rathian Claw, Rathian Tail, among other parts. Crafting new weapons and armor is essential in getting stronger, as Monster Hunter has no experience levels. You only get stronger through the gear you upgrade.

It is important to choose the right weapon and armor for the proper situation. If you're going to be facing a monster like the Royal Ludroth who does water attacks, you might not want to wear an armor with a fire element to it. Choosing the best weapon for the job is also important. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate features a dozen or so weapon archetypes, each with their own way of handling and each with their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Sword and Shield doesn't take too long to attack, but it's one of the weaker weapons of the game, requiring a lot more attacks on a monster than say, a Great Sword. The problem with the Great Sword archetype of weapons, however, is that it's a heavy weapon, requiring some time in order to get off an attack. Finding the right weapon for your play style is of the utmost importance. Learning what weapon works the best for you and then being an absolute boss with it is an awesome thing.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate doesn't just offer local play. It also has its own network mode, where Wii U players (sorry, 3DS owners) can hop online, set up and enter rooms on the various lobbies of the game's servers, and team up to take down savage monsters together and complete unique online quests. This is probably the most fun I've had with an online game in a long time. The cooperative aspect of the hunt with friends or total strangers, chatting into the Wii U GamePad's microphone or inputting text, and helping one another out in battle gave me an incredibly empowered and fun feeling.

Teaming up with friends and/or other players
is such a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Like the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate offers cross-play between the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game. What this means is that you can take your hunter from the 3DS version and transfer him over to the Wii U version, and vice versa. You can take your hunter from a home console, transfer him to your 3DS, and take your 3DS out and about as you slay monsters on the bus to school, on the train ride to work, or wherever. Additionally, the Wii U version sports off-TV play, which makes for a great novelty. Nothing like watching Deadliest Catch as you take down a fierce Gigginox!

The latest patch introduced off-TV
play into the fold.
The inclusion of dual analogs on the Wii U GamePad makes keeping a monster in your sights easy. Seriously, it is a godsend to be able to control the camera in a Monster Hunter game like never before. On the 3DS, you can use the touch screen to move the camera around.

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is absolutely packed with things to do. It is not unheard of for certain players to log in over 500 hours of playtime. Of course, that's only for the most dedicated hunters out there. You need not play for so long to experience the most the game has to offer.

Perhaps the only issue I have with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, other than the slow start the game has and the steep learning curve for those trying to get into the series, is with moving between areas. When you near the edge of one area, you are automatically taken to the next. The problem with this is that if a monster moves to an area's edge and you follow it, you will accidentally be taken to the next area. I would have liked to have it where you have to pres the A button to move from area to area, as fighting a monster and then unintentionally moving to a new area is sometimes really frustrating.

Yeah... I think you win the 
"Who's taller" contest.
Moving onto the presentation of the game, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate isn't the belle of the ball when it comes to look. It's just a high res version of the Wii game. That said, the game doesn't look awful by any means. It just isn't a showcase of the Wii U hardware's power. The game does run at a steady framerate, even when a lot of monsters and players are on the screen at the same time. The sound of the game is top-notch with impressive roars of monsters, weapon sound effects, and ambient noise. The music, performed by the FILMharmonic Orchestra of Prague, really engages the player, making them feel like they right there in an epic showdown with an enormously powerful monster.

The Flooded Forest is one of the prettiest
locations in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.
It is because of these reasons that Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is currently the definitive Monster Hunter experience. Online play with voice chat, off-TV play, cross play with the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions, better controls, and more features make that known for sure. Things like the mandatory opening quest tutorials and the learning curve for beginning players make for a less-than-perfect experience. However, if you stick with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, you will no doubt get to enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

[SPC Says: 9.25/10]

Monday, April 29, 2013

SPC's Favorite VGMs - The Missing Link Edition

Welcome to Monday here at SuperPhillip Central. What we have planned for this week's edition of SPC's Favorite VGMs is music from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Tomba, and Advance Wars. It's a grand selection of music of varying genres and styles. We hope you find a track this evening that you enjoy greatly!

v361. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) - Sanctuary Dungeon

We kick things off with music from one of my favorite games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It's a perfect time for this game, as a sequel was announced for the Nintendo 3DS a couple of weeks ago. This dungeon theme is without a doubt my favorite that the Zelda series has ever witnessed. It's melancholy and isn't grating like the original Zelda's dungeon theme is after repeated listening.

v362. Tomba (PS1) - Village of All Beginnings

Let's get all happy and tropical, shall we? That's exactly what we get with Tomba's Village of All Beginnings, the first main area of the game. Tomba was an interesting mix of RPG elements and platforming. Completing quests in a platformer was an interesting and fresh take on the genre. I liked it so much that I wish Sony would return to it sometime soon.

v363. Advance Wars (GBA) - Andy's Theme

One of the members of the Orange Star army, CO Andy in the real world would be WAY too young to command an army of troops, tanks, fleets, and armadas. Luckily for us, in the universe of Advance Wars, age is not a discriminating factor. Andy's Theme is upbeat, just like the character it is modeled after.

v364. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii) - Cobalt Caverns

While Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was the start of the series's downfall for me, Banana Blitz still holds the title of Best Super Monkey Ball Soundtrack in my eyes... or should I say ears? The majority of the tracks are insanely infectious, offering catchy jaunty rhythms and melodies. Cobalt Caverns is but one of such tracks that I am alluding to.

v365. Beautiful Katamari (360) - Sayonara Rolling Star

Ara Hirayama sings this song from Beautiful Katamari. The opening piano is very soothing, and then the rhythm track comes in to lift up the song even further. Ms. Hirayama's voice is absolutely perfect for this song. Sayonara Rolling Star. Adieu! Auf Wedersehen! Smell ya' later!


We have reached the end of another edition of SPC's Favorite VGMs. Next week five more themes will step forward and be displayed on this very site. Until then, feel free to check out past selections in our VGM Database.