Friday, June 10, 2016

Top Five Desired PlayStation IP Revivals for E3 2016

E3 is next week, and the carnival of fun, excitement, and occasionally utter stupidity will consume the industry. Last night, I posted the five Xbox IP that I would like to see revived come this E3. Tonight it's the PlayStation's turn, having me name the five long, lost franchises of yesteryear that the PlayStation fan inside me would absolutely love to see get the revival treatment next week.

5) Wipeout

Fans of high speed futuristic racing haven't had much to satiate their hunger and thirst for a new racer in the direction of Wipeout. The last entry of the series arrived with the PlayStation Vita's launch, and brought its fast-paced weapon-based combat with it. Just imagine the series in glorious high definition on the technological beast that is the PlayStation 4. You can go ahead and skip Wipeout being on PlayStation VR, Sony, unless you provide a complementary barf bag with every purchase. Regardless, though the traditional developer of the series is no more, that doesn't mean a new developer can't take its place for a new Wipeout.

4) Ape Escape

We haven't seen the Ape Escape franchise in a while. The last run-in with the PlayStation brand's mischievous monkeys was a throwaway tech demo for the PlayStation Move peripheral for the PlayStation 3. I yearn for another traditional Ape Escape game, venturing around colorful platforming playgrounds, discovering locations of the titular apes, and figuring out efficient ways to capture them. Sony's Japan Studio has some good stuff coming with The Last Guardian and the new Hot Shots Golf, but I'd love to see them deliver a satisfying new entry in the Ape Escape franchise.

3) Syphon Filter

Gabe Logan is growing restless on his extended vacation away from doing secret missions and starring in video games in general. Not only did the last Syphon Filter, Logan's Shadow on the PSP, end with an unresolved cliffhanger, but the third-person shooting, mission-based gameplay that the series executed so brilliantly is greatly missed by many fans. Once a strong PlayStation IP in the PS1 and PS2 days, Sony has left the series to rot. Now's as good a time as any to bring Gabe Logan, the Agency, and everything else that made the Syphon Filter series so engaging back.

2) Jak and Daxter

Jak and Daxter is a bittersweet series for me. The first was a wonderful collect-a-thon 3D platformer, and then Naughty Dog lost the plot horribly, making a try-hard, cringey, edgy, Grand Theft Auto-inspired turn for the series, a total turn-off for me personally. Jak 3 brought a more worthwhile game, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the cartoon innocence of the original, or the collect-a-thon formula. We already have one PlayStation platformer with guns in it, and that's the wonderful Ratchet & Clank, so why not have a more skill-based, precision-platforming Jak and Daxter instead? Just keep Naughty Dog away. Please.

1) Crash Bandicoot

What else could it be? Another franchise once under helm by Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot has been with Activision for more than a decade now. With the next Skylanders game supposedly having the PlayStation brand's former mascot in it, that certainly can't be all the Crash news for this E3... right? While I don't think Naughty Dog is the right fit for either Jak and Daxter or Crash Bandicoot since its focus is more on AAA blockbusters in present times, that doesn't mean another worthy developer couldn't revive the bandicoot currently on hiatus. We'll definitely know for sure come next week. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Top Five Desired Xbox IP Revivals for E3 2016

E3 2016 is less than a week away, and many publishers have already unofficially started the event by posting their E3 trailers for various games. However, Microsoft and Sony remain tight-lipped for the most part-- not revealing what they plan to reveal at the big show next week. For every Halo and Gears, there are a multitude of Xbox franchises that remain dormant. This list of five wanted franchise revivals for E3 2016 might just be wishful thinking, but they're the ones that I'd love to see a return to by Microsoft and its developing partners.

5) Project Gotham Racing

Formerly a Sega property and known as Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast, Microsoft got around to owning the franchise, thus changing its name to Project Gotham Racing when it launched on the Xbox. After Bizarre Creations, the developer for the series, was purchased by Activision, the Project Gotham Racing franchise has been put on hiatus. With a much more arcade-centered focus than Microsoft's other racing property, Forza, it seems to me that the series could and should make a return, as both could coexist. That's why I'd love to see the arcade styling of Project Gotham Racing return to Xbox with an announced revival at this year's E3.

4) Kameo

The Legend of Zelda-like Kameo: Elements of Power was a wonderful launch title for the Xbox 360 which had a history of development across Nintendo's GameCube as well as the original Xbox before finally launching on the 360. The game allowed Kameo to transform into various creatures, each with elemental abilities used to beat down enemies and solve puzzles. A sequel was intended and in the planning stages, and judging by the discovered artwork, it was aiming for a more realistic direction. Here's hoping Microsoft and Rare have Kameo return in a big way this E3.

3) Battletoads

Whether it's the Xbox boss Phil Spencer wearing a Battletoads T-shirt or the appearance of the Battletoads via cross-marketing in Killer Instinct or the Xbox version of Shovel Knight, the not-so-subtle hinting and coy eye winking towards a new Battletoads make the series's return not a question of if but more a question of when. The use of Rare's storied IP by Microsoft has been flawed at best, so it would be nice to finally see the Xbox brand take advantage of some of the fan-favorite franchises that are held hostage by Microsoft. Seeing Battletoads in a revival this E3 (finally) would go a long way in starting to effectively use Rare's franchises and put them to good use.

2) Perfect Dark

While it was a sales success when it released at the Xbox 360's launch and the multiplayer was quite addicting, Perfect Dark Zero was not a well received by fans successor to the original Perfect Dark. Basically everything that made the Nintendo 64 original so well regarded by fans was ignored by the developers with Perfect Dark Zero. Fans like myself want a return to the N64 original, nixing the American Joanna Dark and insulting plot, while bringing back all that goodness that the 2000 debut of Perfect Dark brought to us. Perfect Dark is a more objective-based campaign than Halo, so it wouldn't really have to compete with Microsoft's marquis series. Instead, it would simply coexist.

1) Banjo-Kazooie

With Yooka-Layle by former Rare Golden Age staffers in development, it seems like the itch for a Banjo-Kazooie-like game has been scratched. However, what about for those of us who want to see Rare's bear and bird duo given a new chance to shine? After the wonderful but not-quite-what-fans-were-looking-for Nuts & Bolts, it's about time that Rare and Microsoft give Banjo and Kazooie a new, more traditional platforming adventure for fans to enjoy. It would fill a hole in the Xbox's lineup while capitalizing on the much desired by fans (as apparent by the success of the Yooka-Layle Kickstarter) 3D platformer genre.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

World of Final Fantasy (PS4, Vita) E3 2016 Trailer

Before E3 begins next week, several publishers have put out trailers for upcoming games that might get lost in the shuffle in comparison to their other titles. World of Final Fantasy receives a nearly three-minute E3 trailer prior to the three-day show, featuring story elements and new (well, new for World of Final Fantasy) characters. October 25th is when the supposedly 100 hour-long World of Final Fantasy will release later this year.

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - JRPG Battle Theme Edition

Welcome to another edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. It's not usual for this series of articles to hit on a Tuesday, but it's done so two Tuesdays in a row. Regardless, this edition of the old VGMs is special, as it is entirely dedicated to awesome RPG battle themes. This kicks off with Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, releasing at the end of the month in North America. Then, there's the Xbox 360 exclusive Lost Odyssey to rock out to. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and Breath of Fire IV soon follow, all ending with music from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

Take a listen to past VGMs featured with the VGM Database. For now, just click on the VGM volume title to be taken to its YouTube link!

v1156. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4) - Face Off

Not only is this battle theme edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs filled with high octane tracks to get you ready for a good fight, but it's essentially a who's who of fantastic video game music composers. Motoi Sakuraba once again takes the helm for the latest in the Star Ocean franchise, a PS4 exclusive releasing at the end of the month. The violin in this battle theme is absolutely sensational.

v1157. Lost Odyssey (360) - Battle Conditions

From one composing juggernaut to another, we go from Motoi Sakuraba to the incomparable Nobuo Uematsu, best known for his work on the Final Fantasy series pre-Final Fantasy XI. Right from the offset of this battle theme, you know you're in for something action-packed. That's exactly what you get with the Xbox 360 exclusive's battle theme, Battle Conditions. It's like a rock concert going on while you're taking on foes both large and small in Lost Odyssey.

v1158. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS3, Vita) - The Glint of Cold Steel

The piano in this particular battle theme for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is so memorizing. The actual game itself is also quite good, delivering old school RPG goodness with a new school feel. Trails of Cold Steel is part of a planned trilogy with the first game already released and the second which is being localized as I type. Here's hoping the third gets to be enjoyed by those of us in the West as well.

v1159. Breath of Fire IV (PS1) - It's An Easy Win

For all intents and purposes, Breath of Fire IV is the last traditional Breath of Fire game in the series. The fifth installment, Dragon Quarter, releasing on the PlayStation 2, offered a much different feel in both gameplay and mood. And if you're a follower of the series recently, then you know that Breath of Fire VI is a mobile game which is fine on its own, but the actual game doesn't look too appealing as is. Still, that doesn't mean we can't think back fondly on when Capcom's RPG franchise was closer to the top of its game!

v1160. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA) - Undefeated Heart

We conclude this battle theme edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs with a song from the first Final Fantasy game to hit a Nintendo system in nearly a decade after Squaresoft's unfortunate break from Nintendo after Super Mario RPG. The game is Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and it's a mighty marvelous tactical RPG with a fairy tale feel to it. The soundtrack by Hitoshi Sakimoto hits all the right notes including this particular battle theme, Undefeated Heart.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Wii U) North American Commercial

Mario and Sonic are heading to the Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games for the second time. The first occasion was on the Nintendo 3DS in March, which SuperPhillip Central covered and reviewed. This Wii U version is packed with gorgeous graphics, new events like Rugby Sevens, and over 30 characters in all. Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games launches on Wii U later this month.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PS4) Teaser Trailer

Final Fantasy fans have been clamoring for a remaster of Final Fantasy XII, and after multiple ports of Final Fantasy X's remaster, it's finally here. Look at the glorious goodness of Final Fantasy XII in beautiful high definition graphics with this teaser trailer for the game.

Yooka-Laylee (Multi) E3 2016 Trailer

The Banjo-Kazooie inspired Yooka-Layle, made by former team members of Rare, has its first ever trailer. In less stellar news, the game has been delayed to the first quarter of 2017. Still, I'm sure I can say for everyone that I'd rather it be delayed and polished than turn out to be a Mighty No. 9 situation.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Top Eight Best Eighth Entries

And now for something completely different! It's SuperPhillip Central's eight-year anniversary today, as you probably know by now with the preceding posts on the site. Time for a special list to commemorate this historic day. Sure, I could have done a top ten list, but that wouldn't be anywhere near as special as a top EIGHT. In this gaming climate, a long-running series is impressive. Just hitting three entries is something astounding, but EIGHT entries? That's a reason to celebrate. That's exactly what this top eight list does, talking about the best eighth entries in video game history. After you've read these eight entries, remind me of any franchises that I may have forgotten about in the comments below.

8) Mega Man 8 (PS1, SAT)

The first Mega Man platformer to hit the PlayStation, Mega Man 8 is a colorful and gorgeous game that packs a wallop filled with fun levels, well designed challenges, and memorable Robot Masters. Added to this installment of Mega Man are bolts that are hidden in levels which can then be used to purchase helpful upgrades as Dr. Light's lab, such as more powerful charged shots, an energy balancer, and even speed upgrades to climb up ladders faster and move along the ground more quickly. It's an absolute shame that Capcom didn't adopt this lovely style of Mega Man much in the future, instead going back to original 8-bit style for Mega Man 9 and 10 a decade later. Not to say those games weren't good or the style wasn't nice to look at, but the style of Mega Man 8 pushed the classic Mega Man series forward, more so than heading back to the NES.

7) Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PS3, 360)

Mortal Kombat has been a persevering fighting game franchise in an industry where long-term gaming series don't happen too often. With the eighth Mortal Kombat entry, a crossover from seemingly out of nowhere occurred when the characters from the Netherrealm in Mortal Kombat faced off against DC Comics' wide array of superheroes and villains. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe brings the two massive collection of all-star characters together in combat, even including the fatalities the Mortal Kombat series is known for. Though, DC's superheroes would perform something called "heroic brutalities" that would not kill opponents in order to stay true to their positive morals. With a full-fledged story mode, superb fighting game mechanics, tight controls, and lots of pageantry, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is a fantastic fighter.

6) Kirby: Canvas Curse (DS)

The eighth Kirby game, Kirby: Canvas Curse is the game for me that cemented the Nintendo DS's touch screen as a must-have feature for the system. This stylus-only controlled game has you poking Kirby, stuck in ball form, to have him speed up and dash into enemies, as well as drawing rainbow lines (as long as you have enough ink) to guide the pink puffball through a myriad of challenging and creative levels. Kirby's trademark copy abilities are present and accounted for in Canvas Curse, allowing Kirby to smite enemies with many different powers and reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible, usually housing rare medals to collect. As I said in my top ten best Kirby games list Kirby: Canvas Curse was the game that made the summer drought after the Nintendo DS's launch go by very fast until games like Mario Kart DS, Advance Wars; Dual Strike, and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow released the following fall.

5) Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)

Final Fantasy VIII is considered the black sheep, the odd game out, the eccentric one in the original PlayStation Final Fantasy trilogy. It eschewed many franchise conventions to create an interesting and very different experience. For one, the junction system has players equipping summons or Guardian Forces to utilize a multitude of different spells and abilities. To get magic in general, you have to draw it from enemies instead of earning it through leveling up and other more traditional means. These magic spells can also be placed onto specific statistics to boost a given party members' strength, speed, and other stats. As you can see, Final Fantasy VIII is quite different from past and present Final Fantasy games, even having it where leveling up is sometimes more dangerous than staying at a lower level. I'd be remiss of I didn't mention my favorite part of FFVIII: Triple Triad, a collectible card game that screams addicting gameplay. It's the sum of its parts that make Final Fantasy VIII a worthy entry in the series, despite its obvious flaws.

4) Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

The latest Mario Kart is one of the best the long-running series has seen. With 32 initial tracks, and 16 additional ones via an incredible steal of a Season Pass or via separate download packs, the content of Mario Kart 8 made it positively packed with racing goodness. The tracks themselves are some the best in the franchise, using a new anti-gravity mechanic similar to F-Zero, which has the tracks loop, twist, turn, and forgo the limitations of gravity. The multiplayer, whether locally (thank goodness we could finally play Grand Prix with a friend again), or online makes for some very exciting and entertaining experiences. The presentation is also fantastic, featuring jaw-dropping cartoon visuals and a sensational rock and jazz soundtrack. While the battle mode isn't up to par with the series, the rest of what Mario Kart 8 offers more than makes up for it.

3) The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages or Oracle of Seasons (GBC)

This is an interesting predicament discerning which Legend of Zelda game is the true eighth entry. That's because the seventh and eighth entries of The Legend of Zelda series released as a duo meant to be played together. Data from one game could be transferred to the other through a series of passwords. Either Oracle of Ages or Oracle of Seasons could be played first, and then the remaining game could be played after, so it makes it challenging to make heads or tails of which of these two Zelda games is actually the seventh and which is the eighth. Hence, why I simply put "or" in the entry heading. Which ever of the Oracle games you consider to be whatever numbered entry, you'll get a phenomenal handheld Zelda adventure, chock full of interesting puzzle-filled dungeons, clever boss battles, an amazing world to explore, and lots of longevity.

2) Sonic & Knuckles (GEN)

While Sonic & Knuckles is considered the fourth mainline installment of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, it is actually the eighth release of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, counting the Master System and Game Gear releases before it. Essentially an expansion pack in the most literal sense, the cartridge allowed other games to hook up to it, most notably, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to create a massive sized 2D Sonic adventure. Full of enjoyable zones and levels (well, maybe not Sandopolis Act 2 for some of us), a nice mix of speed and more slower paced action sequences, and a rockin' soundtrack, Sonic & Knuckles absolutely rules, and its ten month launch after Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was mighty impressive.

1) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)

My personal favorite eighth entry comes from the illustrious Dragon Quest series. From this first and only PlayStation 2 mainline installment, multiple new happenings occurred. For one, the Dragon Warrior name that North Americans knew was dropped, and this eighth entry introduced for the first time fully 3D environments to explore, opening up the exploration to a delightful degree. Still, several series and genre tropes remained the same, such as randomly occurring turn-based battles, gaining experience, and the general charm the Dragon Warr-- I mean-- Dragon Quest series is known for. From the refreshing simplicity of the game systems within Dragon Quest VIII to its sensational cel-shaded visuals, Dragon Quest VIII is a phenomenal entry and one of my favorites of the franchise. With it receiving an iOS and Android port, and soon to see a localization for the Nintendo 3DS version in the West, things are still looking up for this memorable Dragon Quest game.

The Central City Census is Back!

As part of the SuperPhillip Central eight-year anniversary festivities, the Central City Census has returned! This monthly poll was last seen in November of 2014, but now it is back with a new question being asked each month on the fifth of every month.

This month's question eases everyone into the swing of things with a simple question: Which eighth generation platform have you spent the most time with? 

I look forward to tabulating of the votes at the end of the voting period to see which system is most played with the SuperPhillip Central reader base!

Happy Eight-Year Anniversary, SuperPhillip Central!

Eight years ago on this very day, I created a blog to post my game reviews that I wrote for GameFAQs. Fast forward to today, and my reviews are still be written, but no longer on GameFAQs; the site has seen two million total views, over 660 unique reviews, and a whole heaping ton of articles, editorials, lists, and more.

I want to thank each and every one of you for sticking with SuperPhillip Central over the years-- especially those who have been with me since the very beginning. There were a lot of growing pains over the years, especially during those first few years. Some of the content I wrote back then was just embarrassing!

It's my hope that I will continue providing content and writing for SuperPhillip Central until I'm no longer able to do so. It's a pleasure, a privilege, and a lot of fun to write for this site, and I'm very happy I have people who care enough about my thoughts to read what I have to say.

As a special bonus for this anniversary, I have some content in the making for everyone, but first, check out some mementos from SuperPhillip Central's past over the years.

The very first SuperPhillip Central banner-- though this is the winter version.

A look at SuperPhillip Central's design in December 2009.