Friday, July 8, 2016

Top Five Disney Games of the Past Five Years

With Disney announcing a couple of months ago that they were getting out of making games, the news was a shock. However, of course that doesn't mean that games featuring Disney characters won't be made. This incoming list shows that for the most part, the greatest games featuring Disney weren't actually created by the house of mouse, and instead were from outside partners. After you've checked out this list of the best Disney games of the past five years, feel free to name some of your faves in the comments below.

5) Disney Magical World (3DS)

Take one part Animal Crossing and one part dungeon crawler, and you have Disney Magical World for the Nintendo 3DS. This game saw players taking on the role of a new visitor to the town of Castleton, completing quests for the reward of stickers. Stickers enabled players to access new portions of Castleton and do more within the town such as building furniture, creating new outfits, and venturing to new worlds like the Hundred Acre Wood of Winnie the Pooh fame and Agrabah from Aladdin. The game's dungeons served as a means to battle enemies and bosses while solving simple environmental puzzles for materials. The sequel to Disney Magical World is set to hit the Americas this October.

4) Disney Infinity (Multi)

Recently halting future development as of May, Disney Infinity was Disney's toys-to-life venture, following the route Activision's Skylanders series traveled. Using toy figurines which are brought to life in the game world via the Infinity Base, players were able to use the characters in either the Play Set mode, a self-contained area based off a film series like Pirates of the Caribbean or The Incredibles which had its own characters and plots, or the Toy Box mode, which was a sandbox style mode which served as an open world setting for players to utilize their imaginations to the fullest. While the maximum potential of Disney Infinity wasn't fully realized, what was presented to players was something truly magical and special.

3) DuckTales: Remastered (Multi)

A remake of Capcom's classic NES DuckTales, DuckTales: Remastered saw developer Wayforward bring this essential NES game into modern times with new cutscenes, updated levels, enhanced graphics and sound, and a myriad of other cool additions such as an added tutorial level to get players accustomed to the controls. The game's visuals were a mix of 2D and 3D, specifically 2D character sprites and 3D environments, equaling an incredibly impressive sight for the eyes. While one can easily argue that there was an overabundance of story elements in the form of scenes featuring new voiced dialogue from the still-living voice actors from the time, I personally found these scenes added to the fun and brought even more personality and character to the game. Overall, DuckTales: Remastered remains a highlight in Wayforward's lengthy library.

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

The latest all-new Kingdom Hearts entry in the series, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance served as a branch between the past Kingdom Hearts games and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3. The story followed Sora and Riku's trials to become the one and only Keyblade Master. Along the way, players switched between Sora and Riku, each with their own storyline, while tackling foes with the all-new Flowmotion combat. Flowmotion allowed players to attack enemies in a variety of ways, such as swinging around poles and slamming into foes. New worlds from films like Fantasia and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were included, and the addition of helpers in battle known as Dream Eaters were able to be recruited as well. Kingdom Hearts 3D will see an HD version later this year as part of the wordy  Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

1) Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Multi)

This is a remake done right! Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse was a remake of the 1990 Sega Genesis game featuring the same name. The game saw Mickey Mouse enter through re-imagined levels from the 1990 classic, remodeled into newly structured areas, some in 3D, new puzzles, as well as re-envisioned boss battles. Castle of Illusion played wonderfully back on the Sega Genesis, and it played beautifully with this digital-only remake, offering tight controls with masterful precision, perfect collision detection, glorious 3D visuals, and so much more. I generally don't make it a challenge to myself to get all of the trophies or achievements in a given game, but I enjoyed Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse so much that I couldn't help but do so this time around.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Central City Census - July 2016

It's been several years since we've seen this segment on SuperPhillip Central-- finding out the results of a prior month's Central City Census poll, but here we are! Let's see how the poll turned out.

50 votes total were cast during June's Central City Census asking which eighth generation gaming platform you guys have spent the most time playing. The Nintendo 3DS took the greatest percent of the vote, getting 40% while the Wii U and PlayStation 4 fought neck and neck afterward. Meanwhile, fighting for scraps at the bottom were the Xbox One and PlayStation Vita.

So, what's in store for July's Central City Census? Well, let's continue with the eighth gen platform theme with a poll question asking which system has the best exclusives in your opinion. Results will be posted on August 5th.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Ten Best Fifth Entries

It's the day after America's Independence Day, so that means it's July 5th. What better time and excuse to use today's date as the inspiration for a top ten list! This time, we'll be checking out the ten best fifth entries in some of gaming's most prolific franchises. From Halo to Final Fantasy, this list should name some of your favorites! After you've read SuperPhillip Central's list, feel free to shout out any games that are missing from this top ten. For now, let's get on to the list!

10) Halo 5: Guardians (XB1)

After Halo 4's online community seemingly evaporated into nothing, 343 Industries had to step it up with Halo 5: Guardians. The developer did just that, offering a Halo game that features some of the most satisfying combat the series has ever seen, as well as a story that sees Master Chief going AWOL while being pursued by Spartan Locke and his team to bring him back. The multiplayer saw the removal of Halo 4's unlocking of weapons, and instead went back to a weapon loadout at the start of each match, then allowing players to pick up other weapons that spawn on the various maps. While not the best Halo game to ever be created, Halo 5: Guardians was overall a step in the right direction for the franchise.

9) Resident Evil 5 (Multi)

Excluding the social commentary on how racist Resident Evil 5 was or wasn't, the game featured new improvements such as cooperative play either locally or online, the ability to upgrade weapons from the inventory menu rather than heading to a shopkeeper like in Resident Evil 4, and speaking of an inventory menu, Resident Evil 5's had nine slots for each character, and it didn't matter what the size of a given item or weapon was. Throw in a story that saw protagonist Chris Redfield confronting his past and the always fun Mercenaries side-mode, and you had a Resident Evil game that was an exciting third-person shooter.

8) Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

The gaming world's ultimate driving simulator returned with Gran Turismo 5, the greatest selling PlayStation 3 exclusive to date. Those sales weren't just because of the pedigree of the series. The fifth installment actually had lots to celebrate and enjoy, including online races for up to 16 players, more than 1,000 cars, over 25 locales and locations, over 70 unique raceways, night racing, vehicle damage, and for a first in the series, the licenses of NASCAR, Super GT, and the World Rally Championship were included. There was so much content to be found in Gran Turismo 5, and quality content at that, that it would not be surprising if most players haven't even seen most of it multiple years after its initial release.

7) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Multi)

Past Metal Gear Solid games saw a good deal of open-ended-ness as to how the player could tackle getting through a given room or corridor. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain blew the door off in terms of open-ended-ness, offering an open world to explore, to sneak through, and to complete missions in. This open nature of the game also allowed players to choose the order of their missions, making it so they could play the game in the order that best suited them while still being able to understand the story. The seemingly endless amount of ways one could tackle a mission was and still is astonishingly impressive. Even with its obvious shortcomings, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain remains a wonderful entry in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and a nice sendoff from the real life Big Boss, Hideo Kojima.

6) Mega Man 5 (NES)

By the fifth game in a series, especially when they are all released on the same platform, things can feel a little bit like the series is going through the motions. Certainly, it could be said that the NES games of the Mega Man series felt just like that. However, while the freshness of the franchise wasn't still there by the fifth installment, Mega Man 5 was still a highly rewarding and entertaining game. The formula remained the same: defeat eight Robot Masters, take their weapons, and use them to defeat normal enemies and bosses alike. Returning to completed levels was possible in order to collect the letters "M-E-G-A-M-A-N-V" which would unlock Mega Man's new bird buddy Beat to be used in battle. With impressive level design, tight controls, and more enemies to blast than you can shake Proto Man's shield at, Mega Man 5 on the NES remains a fantastic entry in the long-running series of the Blue Bomber.

5) Final Fantasy V (SNES)

The fifth entry in the Final Fantasy franchise didn't hit the west until much later after its initial release. It wasn't until its arrival as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology for the PlayStation that us westerners finally got a chance to play this remarkable entry in the Final Fantasy franchise. Final Fantasy V introduced a much loved and cherished system into the series, the job system, allowing party members to assume different jobs allowing them to learn specific skills and abilities. Mastering jobs was incredibly rewarding, and it granted lots of replay value and longevity for players. All that goodness was great for tackling the worldwide threat that was the sinister Exdeath. Final Fantasy V wasn't the strongest 16-bit entry in the series, but it is still very much worth playing.

4) Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (Multi)

The first entry in the Dragon Quest series to hit the Super Famicom (also the first to not reach western shores immediately), Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride was a remarkable entry in the Dragon Quest series and a great step forward for JRPGs in general. The basic combat of the franchise was prevalent, but what was interesting was the ability to recruit monsters to your hero's cause, a gameplay mechanic that would spread into future installments and spin-offs of the series, as well as inspiring other franchises like a little known series called Pokemon. Dragon Quest V also sported an intriguing take on its plot, having the player join the hero from his birth all the way to him getting married-- a 30+ year ride. Dragon Quest V wasn't just an amazing fifth installment of the series, it was also simply one of the best Dragon Quest games ever created.

3) Mario Kart DS (DS)

Mario Kart is a colossal kart racing franchise, and it seldom fails to deliver high octane racing action with items to mess over the competition with and delightful tracks. Mario Kart DS was a big step forward for Nintendo, as it was one of the company's first online offerings. While not all of the tracks were available for online play, the fun of racing randoms as well as friends online in speedy spectacles was a total blast. Mario Kart DS also saw the first official inclusion of sixteen retro tracks from past Mario Kart games along with its collection of sixteen new tracks. Alongside this was a mode that boggles the mind why it wasn't included in future Mario Kart games: Mission Mode. It all equaled a Mario Kart entry that was packed with content for both single player and multiplayer mayhem.

2) Grand Theft Auto V (Multi)

Containing one of the most enjoyable open world sandboxes in gaming history, Grand Theft Auto V continues to sell even multiple years after its original release. The newest installment of the Grand Theft Auto series saw notable improvements to the gunplay, controls, and driving of the franchise, things that fans and critics alike had harped on in past entries. The three character system opened up the story to be seen in different perspectives, and how these three characters' tales did interweave and complement one another was well done. Los Santos itself was absolutely a dream to explore, filled to the brim with stunning detail. The other half of the GTA V package, GTA Online, offered sandbox exploration for dozens of strangers and friends to enjoy, as well as heists and other fun modes. Grand Theft Auto V is a deep, involved game that no doubt deserves all of the sales it has and continues to get.

1) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, 3DS)

While not having a number five attached to its name, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the fifth mainline installment of The Legend of Zelda series. I wondered if I really needed to explain myself for choosing Ocarina of Time as the best fifth entry ever created in gaming due to the fact that it's a game that a lot of people have as their favorite game of all time. With its memorable characters, exciting story, well designed dungeons and puzzles, amazing and revolutionary gameplay, and masterful music, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remains a fabulous Zelda game and not only that, but it remains one of the best made and most cherished games of all time. And this is most definitely for very good reasons.

Monday, July 4, 2016

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - Independence Day: Resurgence Edition

Happy birthday, America! To everyone else, happy Monday! This edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs has all the fireworks you'd ever need, and without the risk of blowing your fingers off in the process!

Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes leads this edition off, followed by a great tune from NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. Then we go hardcore-- er, hard corps, with Contra: Hard Corps. Last, we listen to the main theme from Killzone 2 and rock out to a character theme from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift.

If you'd like even more VGM goodness, check out SuperPhillip Central's VGM Database for even more excellent video game themes.

v1176. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (Multi) - Carnival Stage

With this first VGM of this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs there's no time to grab some funnel cake, cotton candy, or a corn dog. No, there is a battle to be had between Marvel Comics and Capcom's greatest all-stars in this beautiful 2D fighter. The carnival stage sports a suitably jazzy theme, perfect for gaining killer combos with.

v1177. NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (Wii) - Cruising Together

An alternate version of Dreams, Dreams, a popular and well known vocal theme from the NiGHTS franchise, Cruising Together is satisfaction in video game music form. With a great beat, wonderful strings and flute, and a fantastic melody, this VGM volume is a nice, smooth, and relaxing theme that belonged in a much better game than what Wii owners and Sega fans got with NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams.

v1178. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN) - Last Springsteen

The final boss theme of Contra: Hard Corps for the Sega Genesis, this retro wonder that uses the Genesis sound card to wonderful effect is just as rocking as you'd expect from a high octane side-scrolling shooter like the Contra series offers. Blast away at the alien menace with glorious abandon as you rock out to this final boss theme from Hard Corps.

v1179. Killzone 2 (PS3) - Helghan Forever (Main Theme)

A rousing main theme from what I consider the tad lackluster Killzone 2, you get both stirring strings and haunting vocals in Helghan Forever. The game itself didn't live up to the lofty expectations it set for itself, but Killzone 2 was a fun game regardless. ...Now, I think I'm forgetting to say something about the game that was important ...Oh, and get run over by a tank, Rico. There's always time to trash Rico for being an obnoxious character whenever I get a chance to talk about Killzone 2.

v1180. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (Multi) - Howling Moon

The theme of Valkenhayn, Howling Moon is an absolutely rockin' character theme that kicks it up to 11 on the dial. The BlazBlue series is home to hard rock and metal delights, and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is no different.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack (3DS) 1st Trailer

Thanks to developer Inti Creates and publisher Yacht Club Games, Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack, containing both Azure Striker Gunvolt and its upcoming sequel in physical form, will release in the west on September 30th. This announcement came from the Anime Expo, and it's one that really excites me as a fan of the original.