Friday, August 29, 2014

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS Shulk Trailer

A new challenger approaches, and it's one that was revealed via leak. That doesn't make Xenoblade Chronicles' Shulk's debut in Super Smash Bros. any less impressive. Not only does Shulk have some awesome looking moves, but he also has a nice stage in the form of Gaur Plains. Check out this trailer to see this Xenoblade Chronicles newcomer in action!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cha-Ching! Memorable Casinos in Video Games

If you have been online for any number of moments, you are probably well aware of the abundance of casino options and casino games available to you. One such notable one is Call of the Colosseum, for instance, wherein you get to play in an atmosphere of one of history's greatest empires.

Call Of the Colosseum

We've previously mentioned casino-like games within popular video games before, but SuperPhillip Central has yet to talk about some of our favorite casino settings in video game history. Well, that is until now. Now, we won't be delving into every casino-related area in every video game, as that list would take forever to compile. Instead, we've got what we consider the absolute best.

The Gold Saucer - Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

Final Fantasy VII is one of the most popular installments in the entire Final Fantasy series. For many gamers, particularly those whose first console was a PlayStation, Final Fantasy VII was there introduction to the Final Fantasy franchise and quite possibly the RPG genre as a whole. Final Fantasy VII's Gold Saucer isn't just home to betting on and participating in Chocobo races, as addicting and fun as that can be. No, there's also an entire amusement park, arcade games, and much more. All that combined with a rich and gorgeous atmosphere make the Gold Saucer not just an excellent casino setting but an engaging place to play in.

Serendipity - Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360)

Welcome to Serendipity! While nowhere near as historic or as famous a place with Final Fantasy fans as the Gold Saucer, Serendipity is certainly full of unique charm, special games, and plenty of eye candy to gawk at. Be sure to bring plenty of gil with you, as you may find yourself either breaking the bank or tearing a huge hole in your pockets. 

Serendipity is divided up between various sectors. Some, such as Temptation Plaza, allow for slot machine and card game play, while others are home to Chocobo racing, much like the Gold Saucer of Final Fantasy VII fame. If you want to get really meta about things, you can play a virtual game in Serendipity while you're playing a game in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Yes, we just confused ourselves as well!

Casino Night Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN)

The Sonic the Hedgehog series is no stranger to casino settings. One could say that the Blue Blur's a compulsive gambler considering how many times he's ventured into pinball-like settings like Sonic Heroes's Bingo Highway, Sonic Advance's Casino Paradise, among others. However, the most notable and historic casino zone in the Sonic the Hedgehog series is without question Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Casino Night. This zone features multiple pinball tables that allow Sonic to bounce around in. He can even try his luck at the slots, either winning big or losing it all ring-wise.

Fun City - Star Ocean: The Second Story (PS1)

Fun City is an amusement park for the citizens of planet Nede in Star Ocean: The Second Story. It can be accessed for a small 50 Fol fee as soon as Claude and Rena's party is able to take control of Psynards, helpful flying beasts. 

The city is home to a great amount of festivities and notable places such as various shops and an inn. However, what makes Fun City really... er... fun... are the optional contests and games visitors can participate in.

For example, players can bet on bunny races, attempting to determine which numbered bunnies cross the finish line in first and second respectively. There's also an Iron Chef-inspired cooking competition, which proficient cooks can display their culinary skills in. Lastly, there's the arena, where some of the strongest regular enemies within the game are located. Oh, and did we forget to mention that you have to face most of them by yourself without any other party member? 

Celadon City Game Corner - Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow (GB, GBC)

Yes, Pokemon of all games is essentially a gateway into the world of gambling for young children and adults alike. Not that this is a bad thing or anything. The Celadon City Game Corner teaches responsible gambling and knowing when your luck has just about run out. This setting is basically a casino where in-game currency is used to spend coins to be used in the various slot machines. The slot machines aren't the only game in Celadon City's attraction. No, another game is in finding a hot machine that will award great money. This can be used to purchase new Pokemon, which of particular note is the rare Porygon, who can only be found as a prize at the Game Corner.


These are but some of the casino areas in popular video games. We'll have more for you here at SuperPhillip Central in the near future coming right at ya'!

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX (PS3) New Features Trailer

Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep are returning to the spotlight with loads of new content in the form of bosses, items, and chapters. Witness all of the newness in this new features trailer. That's a lot of new!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top Five 3D Sonic the Hedgehog Games

Remember this article? Well, now you do! Phil was really excited with the announcement of Sonic Boom for the Wii U, but then impressions came in... and then more impressions... and then more. Suddenly, he wasn't that hyped anymore, and now we love to throw that linked article in his face when he gets too big for his britches.

That said, we wanted to focus on better times for the Blue Blur. There's so much negativity surrounding Sonic the Hedgehog and gaming in general nowadays. Let's take this moment to discuss our favorite 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games, a list that probably won't feature Sonic Boom in a future revision, now will it, Phil?

5) Sonic: Lost World (Wii U)

Made by the same team behind the Wii exclusive Sonic Colors, Sonic: Lost World is an overall satisfactory addition to the 3D Sonic the Hedgehog games. It's by no means a terrific game, but it also doesn't hang anywhere near the likes of Sonic and the Black Knight or Shadow the Hedgehog. The parkour system was mostly enjoyable to use, the spherical, cylindrical, and circular levels offered a lot of clever level design, and there was a sensational soundtrack to boot.

Perhaps the greatest flaw with Sonic: Lost World is how it had such an identity crisis. It seemed like Sonic Team didn't know exactly what they wanted to do with the game, thus they threw everything they could at a wall to see what would stick. Sure, controlling Sonic in a snowball worked well and levels like the always-running Honeycomb Highway were fun, but pinball levels with chaotic physics, an endgame that felt haphazardly put together, and several rail-grinding levels added to Sonic: Lost World's detriment. However, all in all, we definitely enjoyed our time with this Wii U exclusive.

4) Sonic Adventure 2 (DC)

The original Sonic Adventure at the time of its launch was a nice affair. However, playing it now shows an abundance of flaws and things wrong with the game. Sonic Adventure 2 took the formula of its predecessor and ran with it, removing things like hub worlds, annoying segments like Big's fishing escapades, and made for a more streamlined experience.

Sonic and Shadow's levels were the top tier levels of the game, with Tails and Eggman's mech riding stages feeling like an awesome arcade shooting gallery with some platforming thrown in for good (and sometimes bad) measure. The treasure hunting stages that Knuckles and Rouge participated in were upgraded from what Sonic Adventure had, but these were still some of the weakest levels within the entire Sonic Adventure 2 package.

Still, there's a lot to find fun within Sonic Adventure 2 despite its copious amounts of flaws, whether it be storming through a San Francisco-inspired area in City Escape or grinding on rail after rail, scoring big points for doing so.

3) Sonic Unleashed (PS3, 360, Wii)

We would argue that half of Sonic Unleashed is truly fantastic. For those who have played the game or are at least familiar with it, which half we're referring to should be painfully obvious. Well, as painful as it was to play the Werehog portions of the game. Yes, while there weren't any side characters to play as in Sonic Unleashed, when the Blue Blur transformed into the Werehog monstrosity, the game slowed to a tedious crawl. All forms of proper pacing spun out like Sonic slipping on a banana peel.

The daytime stages were where Sonic Unleashed truly shined. Levels had multiple paths, were fun to play, and while the boost-to-win gameplay was still there, the overall experience playing as Sonic was stupendous. Okay, maybe that's too strong of a word, but it was definitely stupendous in comparison to the nighttime stages featuring Molasses-Ass the Hedgehog-- er, the Werehog. The Werehog stages focused on what Sonic isn't about at all, combat and clearing out rooms full of enemies. This is sort of why many critics don't have much love for the upcoming Sonic Boom for Wii U.

Regardless, Sonic Unleashed also introduced players to one of the worst levels in modern Sonic the Hedgehog history, Eggmanland. Just read our thoughts on it to see why. Nonetheless, even with the Werehog and Eggmanland bringing the entire package down a little, Sonic Unleashed was the start of an upswing in the quality of Sonic the Hedgehog games.

2) Sonic Generations (PS3, 360, PC)

The top two titles on our list are ones that Sonic the Hedgehog fans commonly argue about which is the best. Well, you obviously know where we stand, seeing Sonic Generations as the number two entry on this list and all!

Anyhow, Sonic Generations was a celebration of the Blue Blur's illustrious history. Packed with a re-imagined level from each major Sonic the Hedgehog game, Sonic Generations had loads of fan service for lovers of SEGA's speedy mascot. Whether you were speeding through Sonic the Hedgehog's famous Green Hill or taking a tour of Sonic Adventure's Speed Highway, the levels were both new and familiar all at the same time.

Players took control of both Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic, each focusing on a certain type of level in a certain perspective. Modern Sonic often had 3D portions to play through, while Classic Sonic generally had 2.5D levels to traverse.

Sonic Generations wasn't perfect, however, with a second half of the game feeling a tad rushed and several boss encounters being fairly weak fights. Let's not forget Planet Wisp Act 1 for Classic Sonic either. Excuse us while we shiver!

1) Sonic Colors (Wii)

Our pick for the best 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game yet is Sonic Colors, a Wii exclusive. Even though the game released late in the Wii's lifespan when many core gamers had moved onto other platforms, Sonic Colors sold relatively well. It's nice when quality equals sales!

Sonic Colors introduced Wisps to the formula, each offering Sonic a unique temporary ability and power upon coming across one. Whether it was the ability to drill through the ground and through water, launch like a rocket into the sky, or shoot through the air like a laser beam, the Wisps weren't a detriment to Sonic Colors like originally thought.

Even with the inclusion of Wisps, Sonic Colors felt like classic Sonic put into 3D form. It gave players tightly designed levels with few annoying quirks, a wonderful setting to enjoy in Dr. Eggman's interstellar amusement park, and a nice chunk of challenge to contend with. With both 2D and 3D gameplay to be entertained by, Sonic Colors is without a doubt our favorite 3D Sonic game and the top choice for the series's best foray into 3D.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

13 Most Wanted Games for the Rest of 2014

We're approaching the busiest time of the gaming year, so I figured I'd share the top titles that have my attention for the rest of the year. From Super Smash Bros. to Destiny, Sunset Overdrive to Fantasy Life, this list has all sorts of goodies on it! Once you've read my entries, feel free to share your most wanted games for what's left of 2014. You could even heavily criticize my list to the point of driving me to tears! Anyhow, let's get to my list!

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS (Wii U, 3DS)

While leaks for some folks may spoil a bit of the intrigue and hype behind a game, the character leaks from early this week have done nothing but extremely hype me for both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. Like most of Masahiro Sakurai-led projects, both new Smash Bros. games are already packed with content, and we're not even through reading and hearing about most of the new content officially. I, like many other Smash fans, will no doubt vegetate and do nothing but play Smash once the 3DS version hits in early October. Then, I'll veg again when the Wii U's holiday release date comes.

Destiny (Multi)

The game with the closest upcoming release date, Destiny is joint venture by Bungie, known for starting the Halo series on the Xbox, and big publisher Activision. Those who have already played the now-closed beta are now foaming at the mouth to play more of this massively multiplayer online shooter, whether it's for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, or Xbox 360. Thankfully, those beta entrants as well as those who didn't get a chance to play in-depth with the game before Destiny's release won't have to wait much longer to invest as much time into it as they want. Destiny launches in just a couple of short weeks.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (XONE)

As someone who has really only played one full Halo game in the series and that was Halo 3, an essential compendium of Halo's greatest hits in one neat little package seems like a no-brainer of a pickup. You get the anniversary edition of the original Halo, a version of Halo 2 that is getting the same updated treatment as the original, and updated versions of Halo 3 and Halo 4. In addition to that, if your hunger for Halo is still not satiated (you greedy goose), the entire package comes with an invitation to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta. If you're like me and have little experience with Halo or even LESS experience with the series, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is an essential purchase if you're into first-person shooters or science fiction.

Sunset Overdrive (XONE)

I always knew those energy drinks were evil, and Sunset Overdrive is going to prove it to the world. The game, made by Insomniac Games of Ratchet & Clank and early Spyro games fame, has you playing as a customized character, wall-running, jumping, and grinding through a colorful city world. This is all the while taking out OD'd human beings, those who have overdone it on FizzCo's newest energy drink. The nimble and agile action of Sunset Overdrive mixed with the comic book-like world are breaths of fresh air on the Xbox One, and it's a title that makes me and a whole lot of other non-Xbox One owners wishing to purchase the system.

LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4, PS3)

One of the most exciting games for me that is coming out this year, as someone who A) loves platformers, and B) has a great amount of interest and fascination with level design, is none other than LittleBigPlanet 3. This sequel is being created by Sumo Digital, a studio with a high range of top-tier titles including Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. All previous downloadable packs from past LittleBigPlanet games can be used in LittleBigPlanet 3, all levels from the past two console games can also be played in. In addition to that, instead of being able to switch between three layers of depth, LittleBigPlanet 3 offers a game-changing 16. Oh, and did I forget to mention that creators are no longer slaves to a thermometer? Instead, creators can make levels as big as they wish, as long as their PS3 or PS4 hard drive has room available on it.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

While the European release has been delayed to early next year, North American and Japanese Wii U owners will get to enjoy Captain Toad's first solo adventure this holiday season. The game revolves around small but packed areas where Captain Toad must maneuver through obstacle-laden courses to reach a gold Power Star, serving the purpose of each stage's goal. E3 2014's cavalcade of footage proved that this idea originally inspired by Super Mario 3D World's Captain Toad levels can be an excellent concept for a full game. I can't wait to explore levels and take control of Captain Toad later this year.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

My favorite video game series is almost without question The Legend of Zelda. It's awesome to see the series continue to evolve and spread out into uncharted territory. Hyrule Warriors takes the Zelda franchise and mixes it with Dynasty Warriors to create a unique hack 'n slash action game. The amount of fan service is incredible, and while the lack of online is definitely lame (that's the word us professionals use *rolls eyes*), I'm happy that I'll at least be able to play cooperative modes with friends and family with both players having different screens to use. One player uses the GamePad screen while the other utilizes what's on the TV. Repetition may set in, but I love the source material so much that it might not even faze me.

Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)

A sizable amount of great games released last console generation (PS3, 360, Wii). It was definitely hard to play them all, much more find any time to do so! One of the games that I missed out on regrettably was Platinum Games's Bayonetta. However, now I can make up for that. The October release of Bayonetta 2 on Wii U will not only have that exclusive game for owners of Nintendo's latest home console, but it will also include the original Bayonetta with some new content thrown in for good measure like Nintendo-themed costumes for Platinum's leading lady. If that wasn't enough, Bayonetta 2 looks to continue Platinum's tradition of ever-escalating action that will get your pulse pounding and heart beating wildly. I'm excited to finally get a formal introduction to Miss Bayonetta.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Multi)

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is one of my favorite LEGO games in the entire line of LEGO software, and if take a look at all the LEGO games that have released, that's A LOT o' LEGO! The upcoming LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham takes Batman and over 150 other DC characters and puts them in a new setting, space. You can be sure that the LEGO series's trademark humor will be a big part of the game, and that LEGO Batman 3 will be as accessible to play for all ages when it launches this November.

Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)

It's funny that I'm hyped for this new duo of Pokemon games, remakes of the Game Boy Advance's Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, despite not even playing a second of Pokemon X or Y. It's a testament that I'm a not a Pokemaniac like some folks are (nothing wrong if you are one, though), but it just goes to show that there's something special that Nintendo and Game Freak have going. A series that was once labeled a passing fad a decade ago is still going strong during its fifteenth year in existence. I think I'll finally break out Pokemon X and give it a shot now! ...Wait. Wasn't I supposed to talk about Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Now I'm out of room. Oops!

Fantasy Life (3DS)

It's very gratifying when we do a segment on SuperPhillip Central such as "Localizations, Please!" and then we receive the games we wished to get localized! Fantasy Life is one of those titles, and I'm absolutely giddy about it. Sure, it might have taken a little under two years for the game to come out of the land of the rising sun, but Fantasy Life seems like it will be worth the wait with its role-playing game action, customization, and abundance of charm.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS)

The original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is one of my favorite music games ever created. It helps that I have a fondness for the soundtracks the Final Fantasy series possesses, one of the few always incredible constants of the franchise. This edition of Theatrhythm features all of the songs from the original-- that's over 200 songs on the game card. The game also has a myriad of content, modes, characters, RPG-style quirks, and so much more. How can we possibly hold all of this content?!

Tales of Hearts R (Vita)

I've been yearning for more handheld games of the role-playing variety, and Tales of Hearts R is looking to feed that yearning splendidly. The original version of Tales of Hearts released only in Japan on the Nintendo DS. Now, us Westerners get a chance to play the game in most of our native languages with this PlayStation Vita remake. While our only option at least here in the United States will be to purchase the game from GameStop if we go the retail route, it's better than no release at all.

Monday, August 25, 2014

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - Back to School 2014 Edition

It's late August and a lot of the little kiddies are going back to school, if they haven't already. No worries if you're back to school, as SuperPhillip Central has a happy helping of VGMs to share with you to make the transition from summer to school all the easier. This week we have music from The Wonderful 101, Sonic: Lost World, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Wario Land: Shake It!, and Kirby Canvas Curse.

v691. The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) - ST01 Roll Out, Wonderful Ones! Battle in the Blossom City Suburbs

And the award for longest VGM title goes to... In all seriousness, any Wii U owners out there without The Wonderful 101 in their library should really rectify that by picking up a copy. The game takes a little while to learn the ins and outs, but once that has been done, oh, how The Wonderful 101 feels so good and rewarding! This first level theme puts our band of superheroes into the midst of turmoil within Blossom City. It's suitably heroic and full of bombastic brass!

v692. Sonic: Lost World (Wii U) - Honeycomb Highway

Although the game wasn't the great one that many Wii U owners and Sonic the Hedgehog fans wanted it to be, Sonic: Lost World wasn't that bad of a game. There were truly some amazing levels and ideas in the game. One such great level is Desert Ruins Zone Two, the setting where this kick-butt theme plays. Longtime Sonic series composer Tomoya Ohtani delivers a sensational soundtrack yet again.

v693. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GCN) - Rogueport

We're nearly at 700 VGMs total, and this is the first time we've had Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door on our list. Rogueport is the main hub of the GameCube Paper Mario, and it's packed with content, things to do, and characters to chat with. From Goombella to Admiral Bobbery, the characters that join Mario's party make for a hilarious game and enjoyable one, too.

v694. Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii) - Just Plains

The Wario Land series hit a home console for the first time with its fifth installment, Wario Land: Shake It! / The Shake Dimension. The game not only looked absolutely gorgeous, but it came packed with a terrific soundtrack that had loads of lovely themes to it. One of them is Just Plains, a piano heavy piece perfect for running across the colorful plateaus of the level.

v695. Kirby Canvas Curse (DS) - Frozen Fantasy

We conclude this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs with a song from Kirby Canvas Curse for the Nintendo DS. The game single-handily gave the touch screen for the Nintendo DS a purpose to many gamers and skeptics alike. Drawing lines to guide Kirby through the many challenging levels of the game would have been impossible on any other platform at the time. Ooh. Now we want to play this game again in anticipation for the Wii U sequel!